Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum-Guizhou Nuo Opera

Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum

Guizhou Nuo Opera

by Live in Guizhou


Image Source: Eyesnews

Nuo opera is one of China’s most popular folk operas. Characterized by its special features such as ferocious masks, unique dresses and adornments, the strange language used in performance, and mysterious scenes, Nuo opera has been selected as one of the non-material cultural legacies of China. The opera is a religious performance intrinsic to the culture of Nuoism, a type of Chinese folk religion. The purpose of Nuo opera is to drive away devils, disease and evil influences, and also to petition for blessings from the gods. Singing and dancing are included in Nuo opera and performers wear costumes and masks.

Nuo opera is a direct and important expressive medium of Nuo culture. The unique symbol of Nuo opera, the masks, are considered a treasure of Chinese folk art. Guizhou is the center of Nuo drama in southwestern China due to its long Nuo opera history and abundant repertoire. In Anshun, Nuo opera is the primary entertainment activity. Musical instruments include one gong and one drum. The drummer has a very important role during a performance. A patch of land serves as a stage. As a result, Guizhou Nuo is also called Dixi.

The only two occasions for the performance of Nuo opera are at the Spring Festival and at the middle of the 7th lunar month, the time of the rice harvest. People hope the Nuo opera can drive away bad luck and bring a good harvest. Year after year, numerous locals are attracted to this performance. Sometimes a drama can last a dozen days. As is true in most other areas, Nuo Drama in Tunbu is the performed by the men. The moment a dancer puts on his mask, he will not speak or act casually since putting on a mask means the spirit is on him already.