“The Beginner’s Guide to Chinese Lion Dance” 

Created by Taiwanese-American artist Ireny Pigblorps
What is lion dance? Lion Dance is a form of dance in chinese culture intended to care away evil spirits and bring good luck to the audience. At its core, it's a way o a kung fu school to demonstrate its power and showcase the abilities of its students. You usually see lions at Chinese new year parties and parades, but really they are for any special occasion like birthday, wedding, business opening anything where a little extra luck can't go a miss! traditionally, only men were permitted to perform lion dance, but it has changed a lot since the early of 20th century

The origin of lion dance There are a lot of different legends about how lion dance got started! The one we learned was about a monster that would attack a village once a year and eat all the food and babies. Until one day a monk came to town and tamed the monster by tying a red ribbon around its horn and now the monster acts as the village guardian and protects everyone instead of eating babies. there are other legends too where the gods cut the monster's head off, but guan yin, the goddess of mercy, brings it back to life

Lions are not dragons The differences or lion dance and dragon dance.

Types of lions Chinese lions generally fall into two categories which is northern and southern. Southern lion are more common and there are two type/style of southern lion which is fut san and hok san. Fut san lion is more old school with clear kung fu stances while hok san is less traditional with more relax stances and movement.

Anatomy of a lion features of a lion dance according to Chinese tradition

The Buddha / Monk in lion dance acts as a spotted for the lions during particularly tricky stunts. he instruments such as drums, cymbals and gong are used to provide music during lion dance performance. The drums is the lion's heart beat and directs the action. The drummer is usually the most senior member of the troupe. The gong and cymbals help to frighten away evil spirits.

A lion dance Performance The most standard lion dance performance involves the lion salking a head of lettuce or napa cabbage, eating it, and spitting i out onto the audience. The vegetables wil often have a

A lion is coming towards me what should i do? If the lion is not actively stalking a food or item, it may want to play with the audience. Do notbe scare of it. It just wants to be friends. Please feel free to pet the lion! it is soft and fluffy. we would prefer that you not spank the lion or touch its butt, because that is also our butt, but we're used to it.

important lion dance taboos there are some things you should no do when interacting with a lion! Please be respectful and obey following rules: Do not touch the lion's horn or it's mirror, they are used to fight evil spirits. if you see an unused lion, don't jump over its tail.

have fun and enjoy the lion dance! Thank you

 Top image and all images from irenydraws.tumblr.com.

What does the colour of the lion dance symbolise?

Lion Dance Colour Represents Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Ma Chao, Wang Zhong, Zhao Yun

Traditionally, the colour of the lions represents the character in the Classic Historical Legend of the Three Kingdoms (三國時代) which consist of the emperor Liu Bei (劉備) and his five tigers admirals Guan Yu (關羽), Zhang Fei (張飛), Ma Chao (馬超), Wang Zhong (黄忠), and Zhao Yun (趙雲).

Back then, the lions were created to represent the character as remembrance of their wisdom and courage while each lion were specificly dance according to their character’s behavior, martial style and energetic movements.

The Emperor and his Five Tiger Generals (一王五虎)

Liu Bei’s Lion is known as “Rui Shi” The Auspicious Lion. The emperor features yellow based head as an Imperial shade with white beard for wisdom and a multi coloured rainbow tail representing the blessing of the five elements.

Guan Yu’s Lion is known as “Xing Shi” The Awakening Lion. It had a red face with long black beard and a red and black tail. Guan Gong Lion is a symbol of unity, chivalry and heroism.

Zhang Fei’s Lion is known as “Dou Shi” The Fighting Lion. He is well known for his fired temper and love to fight. Therefore his characteristic was featured by a black based head, black beard and white tail.

Zhao Yun (Zhao Zi Long)’s Lion as The Heroic Lion uses a green based head and a green tail with white fur. He fought through Cao Cao’s million man army and rescued Liu Bei’s infant and fought his way back out.

Wang Zhong’s Lion is known as The Righteous Lion, features a yellow based head and a yellow body with white fur. Representing seniority, Wang Zhong was still fighting on the battlefield in his 70’s, he has gained high recognition and respect from the locals.

Ma Chao’s Lion represented by a white coloured lion as he was significantly wearing a white band on his arm as mourning to his farther during his war revenge against Cao Cao(曹操) The King of Wei (魏王). Thus, the lion is recognise as “Xiao Shi” Filial lion

The Emperor is believed to have the blessings from the heaven and thus control of the five elements in Chinese Feng Shui that represented by the five tigers (Yellow = Earth, Black = Water, Green = Wood, Red = Fire, and White = Metal)

Throughout the evolution of the Silk Road Era, lion dance today had emerged into many colours and styles combining arts and creativity to the culture while preserving traditional element and values.

Some says red lion for good luck, yellow/gold lion for wealth, silver for good fortune, pink for good human relations while some likes it to match their sponsor’s corporate colour but most importantly regardless of the colours, lion dance is believed to have the ability to chase away the bad spirits and harvest good luck.