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Looking China: Banging the drums for Shamanism

CCTV.com

10-30-2017 15:30 BJT

Full coverage: ‘看中国’外国青年影像计划专题

By CCTV.com Panview

Editor's foreword: "Looking China" International Youth Film Project is co-organized by the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture (AICCC), Beijing Normal University and Huilin Foundation. The program focuses on the young participants’ personal experiences of Chinese culture and encourages them to discover and tell Chinese stories from their own perspectives.

As of the year 2017, students from all over the world were invited to participate in the project. They were stationed in 12 municipality, provinces and autonomous regions here in China. Every filmmaker has worked out a 10-minute short film about Chinese culture around the topic of "Craftsmanship·Inheritance·Innovation.”

The spiritual aspects of Shamanism are inured in mystery and some believe Shaman doctors and healers can tell the future and ward off demon spirits during special dance ceremonies.

Nonetheless in the film, The Way of the Shaman Drum, the director Joao Meirinhos, provides viewers with a more earthly and pragmatic account of those involved in Shaman Culture as Manchu-ethnic minorities living in northeastern China's Changbai Mountain, Jilin Province.

70-year-old Guan Yunde, a promoter of Manchu's Shamanism culture, works alongside a business partner and has designed and built Shaman drums. He has unearthed Shamanism's mysteries.

Shamans hold animals dear to their hearts and sustain a polytheistic faith, meaning that all living beings, including animals, have a spirit and are god-like. Hence, in northeast China alone, they worship the god of tiger, god of wolf and so on.

Shamanism is more about loving nature and ancient Manchu culture than with participating in so-called demon spirit dances. Guan lived in a home with many generations of Manchu ancestors, while his father was recognized as a tribal leader.

They used kiwi wood to make Shaman drums, since it displays few defects when carving. For some people, Shamanism is perceived as evil, but for the Manchu-ethnics, such as Guan Yunde, it's simply a proud part of the Manchu culture that deserves to get passed down to future generations.

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

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