Morning Bell and Sunset Drum
The Bell Tower and the Drum Tower were built during the Hongwu Period (1368-1398) of the Ming Dynasty. They stand facing each other across the spacious Zhonggulou Square in the center of downtown Xi’an. The Bell Tower houses the Jingyun Bell and the Drum Tower holds a giant drum. The bell sounds in the morning and the drum is beaten in the evening. Local residents regard them more as an auspicious symbol than a place to send time signals. The “Morning Bell and Sunset Drum” was one of the “Eight Greatest Sights in Chang’an (present Xi’an)” in ancient times. The Bell Tower and Drum Tower have remained a landmark of Xi’an until today.
Qinqiang (Shaanxi Opera)
Qinqiang was evolved from folk melodies and the zaju opera popular during the Song, Jin and Yuan dynasties. It took its present form during the Wanli Period (1573-1620) of the Ming Dynasty 500 years ago. In ancient times, the area in present Shaanxi and Gansu provinces was under the rule of the Qin State. So the opera is called qinqiang, or the Tune of Qin. Local residents call it by several other names. It is sung with more than 200 tunes. As qinqiang is performed to the accompaniment of bangzi (wooden clapper), it is also known as bangziqiang. Qinqiang has a complete tone system, 28 roles and over 2,700 plays on its repertoire. Its singing is sonorous, bold, stirring, lively, gentle and exquisite. Qinqiang is one of the ancient operas with strong local characteristics in China.
Huxian Farmers’ Paintings
Paintings by the farmers in Huxian County bear outstanding features of the folk painting style in North China. Most of the topics they depict are human figures, animals, flowers and birds in line drawing forms of bold exaggeration and coloring. They show vividly the daily life of farmers. Unsophisticated in appearance, the paintings are drawn with refined techniques, much like the freehand brushwork in traditional Chinese painting. Local inhabitants in Huxian County have a long tradition to draw pictures to display their lives. In recent years their paintings have become known abroad and been displayed on more than 8,000 exhibitions in six dozens of countries since 1966.