UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritages in China (Ⅲ) (4)

(People's Daily Online) 17:00, May 08, 2023

Hezhen Yimakan storytelling

The item, "Hezhen Yimakan storytelling" was inscribed on UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2011.

Yimakan storytelling is essential to the worldview and historical memory of the Hezhen ethnic minority of north-east China.

Narrated in the Hezhen language, and taking both verse and prose forms, Yimakan storytelling consists of many independent episodes depicting tribal alliances and battles, including the defeat of monsters and invaders by Hezhen heroes.

This oral heritage highlights the defence of ethnic identity and territorial integrity, but also preserves traditional knowledge of shamanic rituals, fishing and hunting.

Yimakan performers improvise stories without instrumental accompaniment, alternating between singing and speaking, and make use of different melodies to represent different characters and plots.


(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Du Mingming)


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