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The Actor Meng in Costume

During the Spring and Autumn period (722-481 BC), imperial musicians (known as you) were the Successors of the ancient witches and wizards. These musicians performed songs, dances, comedies, music and acrobatics for the emperors, rather than for the gods. Comedians were called paiyou and musicians were called lingyou. Taking advantage of working for the ruler of the country, these artists often gave the emperor advice, disguised as entertainment.

An actor called Meng once dressed himself up as Sun Shu'ao, the deceased prime minister of the State of Chu, who had made great contributions to the state. Meng offered advice to his ruler, who accepted it.

The Youxi performance by court actors at this time was not genuine drama, but the performers' humorous monologues had some influence on the development of Chinese drama. (Fig.2-4)

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