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Acrobatics over a boat

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : Aug 6, 2020

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Acrobatics on high pole over a boat is a traditional folk acrobatic activity in Zhouquan town, Tongxiang, a county-level city in Jiaxing. [Photo/jiaxing.gov.cn]

Performing acrobatics on a high pole over a boat is a traditional folk activity in Zhouquan town, Tongxiang, a county-level city in Jiaxing.

The activity originated in the late Ming (1368-1644) and early Qing (1644-1911) dynasties and is usually held during the Silkworm Water Temple Fair, which takes place three days before and after Tomb-Sweeping Day.

The activity involves a boat featuring a huge rotatable stone mortar upon which a bamboo pole measuring about 11 meters is attached.

A performer dressed in a white costume, which symbolizes silkworms, then climbs to the end of the pole before executing a set of 18 movements.

To better promote folk acrobatics, the Wuzhen scenic area in Tongxiang has organized this special performance for tourists.

As doing acrobatics on pole over a boat is a dangerous endeavor, few young people today have learned this performance. At the Silkworm Water Temple Fair held in 2008 in Zhouquan, only four performers - all of whom were born in 1940s - performed the act.

In 2011, acrobatics on a high pole over a boat was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage.