Dragon dances [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Dragon dances, or dragon-lantern shows, are widely spread across China. In the inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells from the Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC), records about dragon rituals for rain have been identified. The Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals by Dong Zhongshu, writing in the Han Dynasty, (206 BC-AD 220) documents different kinds of dragon dances. In the following years, literature and poetry about dragon dances by the imperial court or folk artists continued to appear. Up to now, dragon dances are one of the most prominent dances in folk celebrations. The Bazhong dragon dance integrates traditional craftsmanship, fine art, music and dance movements.
Dragon dances are practiced in diversified forms featuring colored dragons, fire dragons, and bench dragons. According to a survey in Bazhou, local dragon dances are mostly practiced with colored dragons.