Nuoxi is an opera form developed from Nuo dance which was to exorcise the ghost in the Nuoji ceremony. The basic feature is acting with masks, simple plot, colourful singing and dancing, less figures and simple tune.
Nuoxi is popular in various areas of the whole country of China, especially in the provinces of the southern part of China, e.g. Anhui, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Guangxi, Yunnan, Hunan, Guizhou, etc.
Music, Dance, Theatre, Mask
Based on the Nuo dance, Nuoxi became an opera form. In the ancient time, Nuo dance was a kind of dance to exorcise the ghost in the Nuoji ceremony. In the procession of spreading, it developed in the direction of entertainment with characters and performers acted with masks. The level of the development in various areas were uneven. The basic feature is acting with masks, simple plot, colourful singing and dancing, less figures and simple tunes. Most of the repertoires are mythological stories and the historical romances, e.g. Mengjiangnu, Dong Yong Selling Himself, Lang Jun Building a Bridge, The Legend of Liu Yi, Guan Gong Killing Diao Chan, Zhang Fei Rushing in the Shafts of a Cart, etc.
Other names for Nuoxi are: Nuotangxi (Hunan province), Yangxi or Duangongxi (Sichuan province), Dixi or Liankexi (Guizhou province), Shigongxi (Guangxi province), Tiaoxi (Shanxi province), etc.
XUE Ruolin, ed.
1996 Zhongguo Wunuomianju Yishu The Art of Chinese Shaman Nuo Mask .
Nanchong: Jiang Xi Fine Arts Publishing House. In Chinese.
Since 1980's, many Nuoxi librettos were excavated, sorted out and published: e.g., Sinan Nuotanxi; Dejiang Nuotangxi, Guizhou Nationality Press, 1993; Folk Quyi, or Folk Music Story Telling, compiled by scholars in the mainland and published in Taiwan, includes many materials of Nuoxi.
In recent years, a set of Nuoxi repertoires has been recovered and performed in various places e.g. Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi.
Mr. Wang Ankui
Traditional Opera Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Arts
Address: 17 Qianhai Xijie, Beijing 100009, China