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Sumozhe Suppressed, Huntuo Halted: An Investigation into the Nature and Stakes of the Cold-Splashing Sogdian Festal Dramas Performed in Early Eighth Century Tang China

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This article investigates two specific dramatic elements–the huntuo 渾脫 and the sumozhe 蘇摩遮–at the core of the controversial "cold-splashing Sogdian plays" (pohan huxi 潑寒胡戲. The huntuo could be a felt hat, an oilcloth, a pelt headdress, or a theatrical striptease. With deep multicultural roots, the sumozhe (samāja) combined masquerade, ambulatory drama, dance, and music into a boisterous spectacle. In addition to examining the high cultural stakes underlying the public performance and imperial support (or prohibition) of these plays in early eighth century Tang China, this essay proposes a link between these hibernal festal dramas and Turkish Köse plays.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, University of North Florida


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