Lion Dance | Foshan ICH · Charming Lingnan
Foshan China 2023-01-22 15:19

As one of the important origins of Lingnan culture, Foshan has many cultural symbols. The intangible cultural heritages in Foshan like the famous Cantonese opera, paper cutting, wood engraving pictures, Canton embroidery still shine brightly with the preservation of generations of inheritors after so many years.

From this January, Foshan News Network will present a new series of Foshan ICH • Charming Lingnan. Foshan national intangible cultural heritages will be introduced to people all over the world through pictures and English descriptions, displaying the charm of traditional Foshan culture.


Lion Dance is divided into North and South lion. South Lion prevails in the south, also known as Dancing Lion, among which Guangdong Lion is the most representative. Lion Dance lies in Guangdong, which originated from Foshan. Foshan is recognized as the birthplace of lion dance and the first "Chinese Sports City of Lion Dance and Dragon Boat." Once Upon a Time - in Xiqiao Mountain, Foshan appeared Huang Feihong, a celebrity in the history of lion dance. Southern Lion art advocated by Huang Feihong shows integrity of Chinese Nation and reflects an ethnic pride of development, solidarity and fearlessness.

Photo/Foshan Intangible Cultural Heritage Database

Foshan Lion Dance combines martial arts, dance and music as a whole, accompanied by gongs, drums and cymbals. The drummer is the commander of lion dance. The lion is played by two people. One wears "Big Head Buddha" with a smiling face and holds a cattail leaf fan to lead the lion’s debut. The uniqueness of Foshan Lion Dance is Picking Greens, the climax of lion dance. Usually a sheaf of greens with a red envelope is lifted in front of the door, so the lions to can pick them. The difficulty of Picking Greens is often proportional to the height. The higher greens lie, the harder they will be picked. For lion dance, the biggest difficulty is high pile picking greens.

Photo/Foshan Intangible Cultural Heritage Database

Lion dance performance emphasizes integration of charm, shape and posture. In the performance, lazy actions when the lion comes out of the cave, suspicious characters when the lion searches for the cave, proud strides when the lion mountaineers, and cheerful emotions when the lion plays in the water are vividly demonstrated. By jumping, moving, evading, fluttering, swinging, leaping and other difficult movements, the lion’s eight states of happiness, anger, sadness, joy, dynamics, statics, shock, and suspect are displayed.


Foshan Lion Dance Sport goes on the forefront of national and international development and has taken the lead in previous matches. Like Foshan Wing Chun, Foshan Lion Dance is honored as "king of Lion King". Traditional "Three-star" and "Seven-star" Lion in Foshan with superb techniques, beautiful charm, shape and posture, is a rare form of folk arts and culture. In the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the People’s Republic of China, Foshan Lion Dance performed for Party Central Committee and people in the country and the world at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on behalf of Guangdong Province and made full demonstration of its style.

Photo/Foshan Intangible Cultural Heritage Database

On May 20, 2006, Lion Dance is listed as the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage.

Author | May

Revisor | Eleanor