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Pinghu Bozi storytelling

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : Jul 5, 2021

Pinghu Bozi storytelling is a kind of folk art popular in Pinghu, a county-level city in Jiaxing, and its surrounding areas. Its name comes from the main musical instrument, the cymbal or bozi in Chinese, used during the performance.

Traditional Bozi storytelling features storytelling, singing, and accompanying actions, with storytelling being the main focus. It also highlights cheerful songs and commonly used vernacular.

The performance venues were usually storytelling houses and teahouses, with the audience usually made up farmers.

The performer sings while beating the cymbal with one chopstick. The beating rhythm changes according to the singing content.

Traditional Bozi storytelling has no accompaniment and only one performer. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Bozi storytelling has been accompanied with the erhu, the yueqin (a four-stringed plucked instrument with a full-moon-shaped sound box), the dulcimer, and the bamboo flute. It is staged by two or more performers.

In 2008, Pinghu Bozi storytelling was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage item, while Xu Wenzhu and Guo Jinwen were respectively recognized as national-level and provincial-level inheritors of it.


A man gives a performance of Pinghu Bozi storytelling. [Photo/WeChat account: phfabu]