Shooting Arrows Into Pitchers 【Op.73】

  • Premiere: December 15, 1974 Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (Taipei)
  • Choreography: Liu, Feng-Shueh
  • Music: Liu, Chun-Ming
  • Lighting Design: Chien, Lee-Zen
  • Costume Design: Liu, Feng-Shueh
  • Stage Design: Liu, Feng-Shueh, Chen,Shun-Jen
  • Performance: Neo-Classic Dance Company
  • Running Time: 10 minutes

“Shooting Arrows Into Pitches” refers to a traditional method of practicing archery, one of the Six Arts of ancient China. The Feudal princes of the Chou dynasty(1122-221B.C.) presented archery sessions with a ceremonial feast, while Grand Ministers opened archery sessions with a drinking ceremony. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476B.C.), archery ceremonies were held as a part of official banquets, and it is that custom which is shown in this dance. According to the “Book of Rites”, “The host provides arrows for the guests to shoot into pitchers held by attendants…” This practice later became popular with the official class of the Han (206 B.C.-220A.D.) and Chin (265-420A.D.) dynasties. The “History of the Later Han” says that” Chi Tsun held the rank of general. He selected his troops in accordance with Confucian standards, and in the presence of wine and music, he would always initiate the singing of classical songs and the shooting of arrows into pitchers.” According to the “Annals of the Chin dynasty”, it is said that “Shih Chung had a concubine who could shoot arrows into a pitcher concealed behind a “screen.”. The “History of the Sung”(960-1279A.D.) states that” General Yue Fei was found of the company of learned men. Widely read and well-versed in the arts of song and shooting arrows into pitchers, he was also cultivated as a scholar.” The activity remained a favorite pastime with China’s official class even into the Ching Dynasty, and gradually became popular among commoners as well.

The choreography of “Shooting Arrows Into Pitchers” is based on descriptions found in literary sources throughout the ages, including the “ Book of Rites”, “History of the later Han”, Han dynasty tomb inscriptions, Fu Hsuan’s “ Ode on Shooting Arrows Into Pitchers”, Szu Ma-Kuang’s ” Shooting Arrows Into Pitchers”, “The Imperial Library of the kingdom of peace”, “Examples of Shooting Arrows Into Pitchers”, and “Great Works of the Ages”. The dance movements are constructed around traditional gestures with the sleeve.

The Pitchers are designed in accordance with ancient descriptions, but their dimensions were determined by stage designer Chen Shun-Jen based on the requirements of the choreography.