Tunbao or Tunpus are unrecognized ethnic community living in Guizhou province in People's Republic of China. They are descended from the Han ethnic community who belongs to the warrior sections of Ming Dynasty. Throughout the years Tunbao’s were able to maintain their cultural identity, costumes, life style and language etc, intact. The town named after Tunbao is known as Tianlong Tunbao which is located near to Anshun. Anshun is a historical location where you can find the historical relics of the great ethnic community. This includes the Dixi opera or Ground Opera performance by the Tunbao ethnic community.
Tunbao ground opera is also called as Dixi Opera is the oldest opera based on army actions. The opera can be conducted anywhere in the village, in front of the house, or in a vacant land. The story revolves around the sacrifices and purely meant for entertainment. Generally, the opera is performed in the open air. Costumes used during the opera is unusual, the performers wear wooden mask on their face. Their synchronized movements will be tough and rigid. During the opera a combination of various acts such as dance, acting, song and even martial skills are used to entice the dramatic situation of the opera. Mostly the subject selected the opera will be the fight between two kingdoms the Chu and Han Kingdoms or the legend of Loyalists or the creation of the Gods, Xue Tang Rebels against Tang Dynasty or The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
The history of Tun Bao rooted back to Ming Dynasty. During the regime of Zhuyuanzhang, the founder of Ming Dynasty had sent his soldiers to the border town of Yunnan as part of reinforcement. The troop had their camp at Yunnan with their head quarters at Anshun. Once the resistances from the rebels were suppressed, the king asked the soldiers to be self-supportive asked them to start farming. Soon various villages started from various military regiments of tun, bao, guan, suo, pu, wei shao. The members become soldiers cum farmers gradually amalgamated in to a new village community and acted like a reserve force. Whenever they were called for action they were ready for it or else they continued with their agricultural activities. With a military back ground, they developed a unique culture and every art form had the influence of military sense and culture. This culture is later known as Tun Bao Culture which is a mixture of Chinese culture and local culture. The great opera is part of Tun Bao Culture.
Anshun Gymnasium Station is the main transit point to go to Tun Bao Ground Opera village area. This is only a 20 minutes bus ride from here to Qiyanqio county and from there you can go to the gorge area where the Bao ancient village is located. May be you can hire a tractor or motor cycle to reach there. There are two options to reach the village. One route is by the Yunshan Tun pass through the eastern side. The other option is to trek through the back side of pass.
Tunbao Ground Opera – A Blend Of Military And Agriculture Life Style
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