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The Guo Guan Ritual Shadow Play Of Huanxian

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Chapter Summary

The brief shadow play known as Guo guan 過關 (Crossing the Passes), which is frequently performed at temple festivals in the Huanxian 環縣 area in east Gansu, is only one of a great many Chinese shadow plays with ritual functions. Scholars generally associate the beginnings of puppetry in China with ritual. The shadow plays of Huanxian are embedded in ritual contexts, and just like the shadow theater of Sanmenxia in Henan, this is a tradition with Daoist overtones. Before taking a closer look at a Guo guan ceremony, this chapter offers a general introduction to shadow puppetry in Huanxian.

Keywords: Chinese shadow plays; Guo Guan; Huanxian; ritual functions



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