Joan HuaFollow

Faculty Advisor

DeHart, Monica

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Fall 2011


Xiqu 戲曲 is a traditional Chinese performing art that combines music, theater, literature, and even acrobatics. Historically, each area in China has developed its own unique xiqu form that is performed in the local dialect and embodies the local music and dance traditions. For this reason, a xiqu form is seen as a representation of the aesthetics of the certain area and the temperament and demeanor of the local people. Taiwan, however, is unique in that multitude of xiqu traditions assembles on the island. The assortment of xiqu forms is only a miniature of the cultural composition of Taiwan, which includes that of the aboriginals, the large groups of Hans 漢人 that emigrated from across the strait from mainland China during various stages in history, and their descendants. Consequently, the identities of the inhabitants of this island are constantly being reshaped by fusions of different traditions, confrontation, conflict, and reconciliation. This process of identity construction is evident in the various xiqu forms in Taiwan. My interviews and informal conversations with performers, xiqu scholars, and audience members from the capital city Taipei and its surrounding area, as well as my attendance at performances and other xiqu activities, demonstrated how the contrast between different xiqu forms and their former social connotations seem to be dwindling; what surfaces now is a collective Taiwanese identity.


University of Puget Sound