The Water Mirror Stage covers a big area and the eastern part of the stage is often used as the background screen in the plays while the western part, faced with the Shengmu Palace, serves as the proscenium. Under the stage eight large earthen jars functioned as loudspeakers. According to Chinese traditions, when people redeem a vow to a god or offer sacrifices to gods and their ancestors, they usually give various performances to entertain the god as well as themselves. And such a custom lasts for generations. Why? Because ancient common people in China were poor and had to work hard almost every day through the whole year, so they did not have much leisure time. When it came to the ritual ceremony, people all got excited and took this particular opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves. This kind of folk worship ceremony was entertaining and ceremonial at the same time. In the Song and Yuan Dynasty, plays were very popular. In order to meet the needs of the performances of ritual activities, people devided the stage into terrace, pavilion, proscenium and background screen and opened only one side of the stage. Not all people who stood around the stage could enjoy the show, but only those who sat in specific direction could do so. Therefore, stages with fixed watching direction came into being and gradually appeared in various temples or other sacrificial sites.

Jinci Temple

Jack Li

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