Dunhuang, History’s Heavenly Stage, Playing the Pipa Behind the Back (2 of 8)

Playing the Pipa Behind the Back

This is the second in an eight-part series by China Central Television (CCTV) on the interplay between the murals in the Mogoa Caves and contemporary art in China.

In this episode we see how the depictions of musicians playing the pipa (Chinese lute) in an unusual position, behind the back, have fascinated and inspired dancers in the modern age.

Although many of the depictions shown in the murals have been passed down in the arts, the idea of playing the pipa behind the back has not come down, and it was therefore unsure whether it was real or simply a painter’s fantasy.

Contemporary dance masters however have succeeded in recreating such a dance, however, and it became so successful that it is now iconic of the Mogoa Caves, and there is even a sculpture in the middle of Dunhuang depicting the pose.

 

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