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Ancient method of making music enthralls modern audience

By Ma Zhenhuan and Hu Yuyan in Cixi, Ningbo | | Updated: 2020-12-16 20:31
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Inside a modest building in Cixi city, an audience is treated to sumptuous melodies.

The building houses the Cixi Celadon Ou Music Troupe, which recently enthralled international visitors with its performance. Ou refers to vessels, such as cups and bowls.

The troupe performed well-known pieces, including Molihua (Jasmine Flower) and Meihua Sannong (Three Variations on the Plum Blossom) on ceramic vessels and percussion instruments, accompanied by flutes, drums, bells and string instruments.

These ceramics with a greenish sheen are called Yue celadon. It was first made in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) in locations that include the Shanglin Lake area in Cixi, part of Yue prefecture in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and now a county-level city in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang province.

Eva Katuscakova, a Czech national who was in the audience, described the music as "heart-touching".

"If you close your eyes while they play, you feel like you are at the royal court, sitting by a lotus lake and listening to the rumbling of the leaves of bamboo trees," she said.

Yue Celadon Ou Music reached its zenith in the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279) and began a period of decline in the late Song Dynasty (960-1279), according to Zhu Yafang, head of the troupe.

The ancient art has regained momentum following the excavation of celadon musical instruments at the Yue Kiln Sites at Shanglin Lake in 1998, Zhu said.

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