Yangzhou Pinghua (popular tales) is a general term for storytelling in the Yangzhou dialect. Yangzhou Pinghua, also called Weiyang pinghua or pingci took shape in the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was first popular in north Jiangsu Province, with Yangzhou as the center, and then spread to neighboring Nanjing,Zhenjiang and Shanghai. When your Yangtze River cruises reaches to Nanjing, you would see the performance of Yangzhou Pinghua.
Traditionally, the pinghua performer wore a gown and sat behind a table, with a folded fan and a gavel (serving as a prop to strike the table as a warning to the audience to be quiet or as a means of attracting attention in order to strengthen the effect of the performance, especially at the beginning or during intervals). Since the mid-20th century, performers have not often used props. Experience Yangzhou Pinghua would be a much interesting experience along your China tours of Yangzhou.
The storytellers often added their own commentaries on the subjects and the characters. They also explained the origins of and material objects in the stories. So the audience, while watching their performances, was not only entertained, but also educated and enlightened. Like the folk art discovered along your travel to Shangri-la, Yangzhou pingshu has its own features.
The Yangzhou pinghua artists usually pass on their repertoires from generation to generation. Many items, such as The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Outlaws of the Marsh all have adherents who have formed different schools. Some of the contents have become enriched in the course of being spread, being similar in content but varied in details. Since the founding of New China in 1949, many new novels have been adapted as Yangzhou pinghua. Medium-length and short items have appeared on the stage. However, the traditional repertoires still occupy a major place. Many students particularly like to learn the Yangzhou pingshu along their China educational tours of Yangzhou.
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