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Artistic Features

Recreational activities available in Chinese feudal society, which took Confucian rites and viewpoints as the "foundation of the country," were few and of low quality, and theatrical performances were the only recreational activities enjoyed by nobles, scholars and ordinary people alike in those days. An American missionary once said, "To the Chinese people, the theater is just like sports to the British and bull-fighting to the Spanish." We may even assert that going to the theater used to be the most important recreational activity for the Chinese people. Evidence for this are the facts that some dramas have been performed for 800 years, and are still popular, and that millions of urban people used to scramble to watch performances by Mei Lanfang (1894-1961), the most famous modern Peking Opera actor.

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Keeping a Distance from Life
As mentioned above, Chinese theater has musical dialogues and dance movements. The songs and dances themselves are based on life; but they are not mere reproductions of life. The make-up, costumes, movements and recitations of the performers are affected or pretentious, so as to intensify and beautify ordinary language, daily movements and insipid feelings, and express them in an artistic way.
Fictitious Expression Method - the Core of the Stage Structure
A complete set of fictitious expression methods to master the problems of time and space is the core of stage structure in Chinese theater.
No Limitation of Time or Space
On the Chinese theater stage, per formers reproduce the activities of everyday life in a highly symbolic way. It is precisely through these highly abstract but meaningful modes of expression that the audience is led to an understanding of what is taking place on the stage.
Stories Expressed Through songs and Dances
During the pre-art era (or era of primitive religion) the buds of various arts of all nations in the world were mixed up with each other; but in the period of artistic creation, arts in Europe were gradually classified.

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