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Chinese Lion Dance mask

Description: According to Chinese belief, lions chase away evil spirits and bring good luck, most likely because of their size, strength and fierce nature. Chinese lions are depicted as very colorful and stylized. This mask is a smaller version of a full-sized mask that would be worn with a Chinese lion dance costume. Two skilled dancers wear the costume—one in the mask and the other in the tail. The dance is very challenging and physical, requiring the dancers to be very fit, strong, and flexible and to have a good sense of balance. Lion dancers are usually specialists in Kung Fu. The two dancers choreograph their steps together in time with rhythmic music created by drum, gong and cymbal players. They perform amazing moves by jumping high, standing on top of one another, and operating the lion's movable jaw and eyes. Lion dances are performed for a variety of occasions, including marriages, the opening of new businesses or restaurants, shrine festivals, and the Chinese Lunar New Year. If performed well, it is believed that a lion dance chases away evil spirits, wards off illness and disease, and brings good fortune. This mask was made in Taiwan about 1980
Collection: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Copyright: This file is licensed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Subjects: China
China -- History
China -- social life and customs
Folk dancing, Chinese
Chinese New Year

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