Every festival in Shizhu Tujia autonomous county in Southwest China's Chongqing has been celebrated with Tujia "Wanniu," or ox dance, a kind of intangible cultural heritage cultivated and still popular in this region.
The ox dance is originated from some sacrificial activities in this region. For instance, people would sacrifice the God of Ox under the effects of agricultural civilization since the ox is particularly important to people's production and life.
People expressed their wishes for abundant crops and the safety of people and animals through agricultural festivals, and the folk dance, Tujia"Wanniu," naturally came as a custom.
The dance performance requires seven or eight people to cooperate. One person holds the prop to act as the herder, the other two need to stay under the bull prop to act as the ox, and the other four are gong players and drummers.
With a basket on his back, the herder is the "commander" of the team. He uses the basket to tease the "ox" and lead the "ox" to dance. The "ox" can complete the dancing moves, such as eating grass, rubbing itching, rolling in the water, and jumping ridges. Other villages around will sing folk songs to interact with the performers.
In conclusion, ox dance gets inspiration from the work and the rest of ox on the farmland. And the dance includes: plow dance, eating dance, dynamic dance, demeanor dance, and play dance.
Ox dance is mainly popular in Xituo, Xialu, Nanbin Towns, and other places in Shizhu Tujia autonomous county in Chongqing.
The dance has special value in farming history, dance, folk music, literature, and art. In 2014, Tujia "Wanniu" was listed as the fourth batch of national intangible cultural heritage.