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190                  CURIOSITIES OF MUSIC.
two masks, one on the face, the other at the back of their head, and thus, Janus-like, they can always face the emperor. Their clothing is in consequence different from that of ordinary actors, having two fronts and no back.*
The corps of singers, declaimers and musicians of all kinds belonging to the Imperial court, is of course very large.
The dances of China, are as with all Eastern or ancient nations, purely pantomimical, there are few pirouettes and skips as in our ballet. The names and subjects of some of the earlier dancers, will show this conclusively; "The labors of Agriculture," " Joys of the Harvest," " The fatigues of "War," "The pleasures of Peace," " The skill of Hunting," etc. These all show a primitive style of the art, and are not far removed from the dances we shall find in vogue among the most crude children of nature, such as the Australians, the Bushmen, or the Tasmanians. The Chinese possess (as did the Egyptians) a number of gymnastic performances similar to our clog, ballet, and comic dances, but these come a long way after the dance proper, in the estimation of the people; the word ou which signifies dance, does not apply to them. We cannot be surprised if from earliest times the regulation of the dance has been a matter of State legislation.
The ancient emperor was allowed eight dances, with eight performers to each, his full troupe containing sixty-four members. Kings of Prov*
*IaFH«. Mu». de«. Chin, T. 1, p. 813.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III