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Chinese animation – masterpiece of Chinese culture and art, part 1
Chinese animation – masterpiece of Chinese culture and art, part 2

The following titles are some of the most famous masterpieces that represent the highest level of Chinese animation in technique innovation and aesthetic expression. They are also typical representatives of Chinese culture and art.

The Peacock Princess (1963)

The Peacock Princess is like the story of Swan Lake of the East. It’s very popular among Chinese people and was made into an animated film in 1963 with the same title.

The tale of The Peacock Princess was in the beautiful Xishuangbanna, China’s tropical rain forest. The king of the Peacock Kingdom had seven beautiful daughters, but his favorite was the seventh, Nan Muluna.

All the peacock princesses could fly, including Nan Muluna. One day Nan Muluna and her sisters flew to the Golden Lake to take a bath. At the lake, she met the Prince of Mengbanzha.

It was love at the first sight. Soon the Princess and the Prince got married. But the Prince’s father, the King, was under the sway of an evil vulture who had transformed himself into a magician. This magician hated the young prince and did everything in his power to cause him grief.

The magician slandered the Princess as an evil spirit, and forced her to fly back to the Peacock Kingdom. It wasn’t until the Prince did battle with this force of evil that he was finally reunited with his beloved wife Nan Muluna.

The film of The Peacock Princess is the first feature-length puppet film made in China. It is a lively scene, epic, with a beautiful myth of Dai ethnic group who worshiped peacocks and impressive virtuosity, marking the full maturity of the puppet movie art.

 

 

The Golden Conch (1963)
The animated feature film The Golden Conch was based on the Chinese folktale: The Snail Girl. In the movie The Golden Conch(1963), the river snail girl becomes a sea conch fairy named Hailuo, and the farmer Xie Duan becomes a fisherman named Aniu.

In The Conch Fairy, a sea conch fairy named Hailuo watches the young fisherman rowing the boat, fishing and singing everyday. Out of admiration, she transforms herself into a golden conch and intentionally lets the young man catch her and take her home.

The very next night, when Aniu came back home, he discovered his little house had been cleanly swept and that a very fine, still hot meal was awaiting him on his table!

Strangely, the same thing happened on the second day, then on the third, forth and fifth day. At last, Aniu decided to find out who was his benefactor.

One afternoon, Aniu came back home especially early. Crouching down, he peered into the window, and to his great astonishment, he saw a pretty girl cooking at the stove.

“Who are you?” he asked. “Why are you caring for my house?”

The girl told him she was the gold conch he caught. She found him to be a kind-hearted man and wanted to do make friends with him.

After experiencing a series of hardships and tests, eventually Aniu and the fairy got married. They both loved each other deeply, and they lived happily ever after.

The film The Golden Conch adopts the expressive forms of Chinese shadow puppet and ancient Chinese art of paper cutouts. It expresses traditional Chinese folk arts as being bright and colorful, with strong nationalistic style. The film won the Lumumba Prize at the Asia-Africa International Film Festival in 1964.

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Chinese animation – masterpiece of Chinese culture and art, part 1
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