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The sounds of ceramics sing throughout the ages

By Hu Yuyan | China Daily | Updated: 2020-12-22 08:05
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The Cixi Celadon Ou Music Troupe recently 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, bells and stringed instruments in a modest building in Cixi city.

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.

These ceramics with a greenish sheen are called Yue celadon.

The material was first made in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) in locations including the Shanglin Lake area in Cixi, which was part of Yue prefecture in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and is now a county-level city in Ningbo in East China's Zhejiang province.

Czech audience member Eva Katuscakova describes 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 rustling of the leaves of bamboo trees," she says.

Yue Celadon Ou Music reached its zenith in the Tang and Song (960-1279) dynasties, and began to decline in the late Song Dynasty, 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 says.

Members of the troupe are graduates of conservatories around the country, including the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, the Xi'an Conservatory of Music and the Sichuan Conservatory of Music. Their ages range from 22 to 35.

"I'm very proud that I am a Celadon Ou Music artist," says troupe member Zan Hao, who graduated from the Wuhan Conservatory of Music.

"My experience with Celadon Ou Music has been extremely valuable in that I have had the opportunity to study it and help keep it alive."

To reach a larger audience, Zhu says the troupe has created a website, a TikTok account and a WeChat account.

It also plans to tour the country in 2021, she adds.

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