Greetings dear Steemians! Are any of you interested in ancient Chinese culture and art? In my last post, I introduced everyone to traditional Chinese Opera as well as showed you some pictures of me wearing some traditional Chinese attire.
When I hear the words "Ancient China", I think of the China's Imperial rulers，their strange clothes and the Emperor's harem of wives. What do you think of?
The city of Xi'an was home to the rise and fall of 13 dynasties. One dynasty in particular was China's most flourishing one. This is why the architecture is decorated extravagantly. Today we're going to visit the theatre and take a trip back to the Tang Dynasty.
Xi'an Tang Dynasty Theatre
Highlights of the Theatre
- Combining a feast with dancing and singing, spectators are able to enjoy the performance whilst enjoying some Tang style delicacies. In fact, a court feast with singing and dancing entertainment is something Tang people introduced to foreigners and ethnic minorities as a standard etiquette. This visit to the theatre was an opportunity for us to enjoy the show as well as experience how the Tang people treat guests of it's court.
- The Tang dynasty theatre is the only restaurant theatre in China who's ethnic minority orchestra accompany's the singing and dancing.
- The Tang dynasty theatre is China's highest class act imitating Tang dynasty's dancing and singing.
Credit to thesilkroadchina
On May 25th 2015, CNN began shooting the documentary called "The Silk Road" at this venue, detailing the ancient trade route that stretched from China all the way to Africa and Europe.
Credit to tkpwest
The Music and Dance theatre show re-tells the legend of the Tang Dynasty
This is the only theatre show in China that has a traditional Chinese music band perform the accompaniment live along side the show. The members of the band are dressed in traditional clothing and some of the instruments you will see and hear are the er hu and pipa lute
A live performance of a well known pan-pipes player who composed parts of the piece and improvised the rest. A very high difficulty feat that pays homage to the musical arts of the Tang Dynasty.
Videos are recorded by myself.
The vocal mastery developed during the Tang period are one of proudest achievements of the Tang Dynasty. In fact, it set the precedence for subsequent Chinese Traditional Opera. A contribution that will always be valued and never overlooked.
Credit to wxrw123
The stage design for the show is loosely based on the mural paintings of the Mogao caves in Dunhuang. Every detail of the court is designed with finesse, it certainly serves the original court justice with its grandeur and magnificence.
Credit to juntu
The Life of the Tang Empress, Wu Zetian
The emergence of a mysterious woman, rewrote the history of the Tang dynasty as well as subverted the traditional imperial rule of ancient kings. The Tang Empress, Wu Zetian is the only woman in Chinese history to be an emperor. She also happens to be one of the longest living emperors in history.
You must be curious as to how a monarchy previously ruled exclusively by men, allowed a woman to preside of the position of Emperor. Lets go back to the Tang Dynasty and see how the theatre show re-enacts the story of the rise of the Tang Empress, Wu Zetian.
Wu Zetian's entry to the court
Wu Zetian entered the imperial palace at the age of 14. Because of her good looks, she was chosen as one of the Tang Emperor's (Tang Taizong) imperial concubines. Wu Zetian stood out from her counterparts for she was not only beautiful, but also highly intelligent. She demonstrated her abilities training a horse and caught the attention of the Emperor, Tang Taizong who garnered a whole new level of respect for the woman as a result.
Wu Zetian re-enter's the court
Wu Zetian was unable to gain the utmost favour from the Emperor, Tang Taizong and remained a low tier concubine for 12 years. On an expedition trip, the Emperor, Tang Taizong fell ill and during this time, Wu Zetian and then prince, Li Zhi became lovers. After the Emperor, Tang Taizong passed away, it is customary for the concubines to all leave the imperial court and live at the Temple as widows for the rest of their lives, however, Li Zhi could not forget Wu Zetian, after assuming power as the new Emperor, he once again called for Wu Zetian's entry to the imperial court where she became a concubine to the new Emperor. This time however, she was held very much in favour for Li Zhi loved her very much and placed her very highly.
Credit to sanbengzi
Credit to sanbengzi
The internal struggles of Concubines in the court
Wu Zetian's biggest enemy was the Imperial Consort (The emperors first in line wife), but she had to overcome many other concubines who all sought to gain the favour and attention of the Emperor. Wu Zetian was ruthless and stopped at nothing to succeed. Just 1 month after the birth of her daughter, the imperial consort came to visit Wu Zetian. When she left, Wu Zetian choked her own baby daughter to death and blamed the Imperial consort. When the Emperor found out about this incident, he forced the imperial consort out of the court and made Wu Zetian the first wife, and imperial consort.
Ascension to the throne
Tang Gaozong (Li Zhi) in his elderly years became susceptible to frequent headaches. He allowed Wu Zetian to manage governance and political matters in his absence. In her push for power, she was given an equal footing as the Emperor in overseeing political matters. After the Emperor, Li Zhi passed away, Wu Zetian in a bid to secure her power, once again deposed of all succeeding princes leaving her as the only successor to power. She finally became the first and only female Emperor. During her reign, she made notable contributions to the legacy of the Tang Dynasty and her legend is always worth recalling.
Credit to sanbengzi
So that's the story of Wu Zetian and her life as she rose to power. From the theatre show, we were able to revisit all these key points of history giving us a re-enacted experience of how Wu Zetian's legend came about.
It was really fun sharing this segment of Chinese History and Culture with everybody, I'm really looking forward to sharing more in the future, giving everybody a bit of extra knowledge about China's rich history and culture.
If you are interested in my other blogs related to culture please check out these other blogs below
Why you don't see Chinese Girls wearing bikini's at the beach?
Taking Steemit to a Concert in China.