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Chinese animation – masterpiece of Chinese culture and art, part 1
Chinese animation – masterpiece of Chinese culture and art, part 2
Chinese animation – masterpiece of Chinese culture and art, part 3

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.

Cowboy’s Flute (1963)
The Cowboy’s Flute is a Chinese animated short film produced by Shanghai Animation Film Studio under the master animator Te Wei. It is also referred to as “The Cowboy’s Flute”, “The Cowherd’s Flute”, “The Buffalo Boy and his Flute”.

Produced in 1963, this film uses even more beautiful and detailed Chinese ink paintings to depict the charming relationship between a young cow herding boy with extraordinary flute playing skills and his faithful water buffalo.

The boy falls asleep in a tree, and is soon dreaming that he has lost his buffalo. The dream sequence is delightfully whimsical, beginning with falling leaves that turn into butterflies and gradually lead the cow herder to a beautiful mist-filled valley. Here, the cow herder finally discovers his wayward animal, but the buffalo outright refuses to budge from his hiding spot, leaving the cow herder to find an alternate solution to his problem.

The film eschews dialogue completely, opting to tell its story entirely through the animation and the accompanying music, making it entirely accessible to a non-Chinese speaking audience.

The melding of the aural and visual experiences is nearly flawless, and the painted settings are far more grandiose and ambitious than those in Little Tadpoles Look for Their Mummy.

The closing montage of visuals features great flocks of birds, all painted in different ink painting styles, while the music builds to a crescendo. The effect is so dazzling that it comes as a surprise when the boy awakens from his dream at the end of the film.

The Cowboy’s Flute was awarded the Golden Prize at the Odense International Fairy Tale Film Festival in Denmark.

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Nezha Riots the Seas (1979)
Nezha Riots the Seas, also called also known as Nezha Conquers the Dragon King, is an exciting classical Chinese folk tale that has been known and loved by generations of Chinese children. Full of adventures and challenges, this animated film will enchant every child.

The story opens with Nezha’s father Li Jing, a powerful general of Chentang Pass. His wife, after a three-year long pregnancy, gives birth to a ball of flesh shaped like a lotus bud.

Believing this to be an ill omen, Li Jing chops open the lotus bud with a single swipe of his mighty sword. A beautiful baby boy springs out. He can speak and walk immediately after birth.

The Great Monad comes to offer his congratulations. He finds the boy to his liking, so he takes him as a disciple and eaches him magical arts.

The main part of the story revolves around Nezah’s feud with the Dragon King, whom he angers through the killing of his son. Through bravery and wit, Nezha finally breaks into the underwater palace of his nemesis and successfully defeats him.


Nezha Riots the Seas, directed by Wang Shuchen, Yan Dingxian and Xu Jingda is the first wide-screen animated feature produced in China, wining the best animation film in the third Hundred Flower Awards in 1980. The production of animation was suspended for almost 10 years during the Cultural Revolution. So Nezha’s return is of far-reaching importance to China’s animation as well as China’s cultural circle.

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Chinese animation – masterpiece of Chinese culture and art, part 3
Chinese animation – masterpiece of Chinese culture and art, part 2
Chinese animation – masterpiece of Chinese culture and art, part 1
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