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Chinese Lion Dancing Many who see a Chinese Lion Dance performed and even many of the performers do not stop to reflect on the symbolisms being presented However by understanding them a greater appreciation for this ancient ritual can be gained Insights obtained from studying the meanings of the ritual and myths surrounding it will also be helpful in studying the origin and development of the Lion Dance By listening and watching performances of the Lion Dance I can explain some ways that lion dancing originated and the tools that are necessary to perform a lion dance The traditional lion consists of a head that is usually made of bamboo and paper mache It does not resemble any known lion on earth It has a mystical look with a furry mustache ears and eye lids a horn like a unicorn on the top of its head and a mirror on its nose It could be that travelers from Persia saw lions and described them to the creators of todays lion heads Lion heads have aluminum and PVC pieces This makes them lighter and more durable for the acrobatics in the modern patterns The colors of the lions vary like the color of the rainbow Each color has its own significance and meaning Traditional kung fu schools still stick to these meanings but for the most part lion dance companies go with whatever looks good The traditional lion color scheme follows the characters from the famous Chinese novel Three Kingdoms represented by yellow or gold face lions with white beards to show wisdom and stature The beard can be white or black Finally there is predominantly black and looks more fierce then the other lions Beard is black and usually short to show young and pugnacious nature Guan Kung lions are the most generic and can be used by anyone In addition to the head is the body of the lion
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