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15 July 2015

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Changde Silk String Art

Changde silk string art is a branch of Hunan silk string art. Since it is the most developed and popular silk string art in Hunan, Changde silk string art has become an independent art form.

Changde silk string art is popular all around Hunan Province. It got its name from the instruments played in art shows. Normally, silk string instruments like the yangqin (Chinese hammered dulcimer originally from the Middle East), the Chinese lute, the yu-kin, the three-stringed instrument and the erhu (two-stringed fiddle) are used in the performance.

Changde silk string art was formed around the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is a singing art form. But there are also spoken parts during the course of the performance. People sit around, singing and playing at the same time with yangqin, the Chinese lute and erhu. Later, the performance became a one-to-two person act of singing on stage accompanied by the musical instruments.

There are more than one hundred traditional repertories of Changde silk string art. Most of the repertories are from historical stories and folklore. Changde silk string art presents the local features of the Changde area through high artistic value.

But since the late 1980s, there have been fewer professional troupes of Changde silk string artists. Many performers are getting old, and the art is on the verge of disappearing.