- War Drummers welcoming the Nu Wa Storytelling Delegation
- Children welcoming the Nu Wa storytelling delegation
- Jin Jingxiang, 74 years old, knows 300 stories
- Elaine, Jin Jingxiang, and Li Min
- Jin Zhengxing and his UNESCO award
- Jin Jingxiang
- Li Min and Geng Cun storytellers
In October 2002, 34 American storytellers, including 4 youths, shared stories, songs, arts & crafts–and friendship–with the inhabitants of a 600-year-old storytelling village, Geng Cun in Hebei province, China.
Our group visited Geng Cun under the banner of the Nu Wa China Storytelling Exchange, led by Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo of Eth-Noh-Tec, a non-profit Asian American storytelling duo.
Geng Cun is a small village located in Hebei province in northern China, about a five hour bus ride from the capital of Beijing. The village has about 1,200 citizens, mostly farmers.
The Chinese government discovered Geng Cun village’s unique storytelling culture in the mid ’80′s. One out of ten people in this tiny village is a storyteller!
Despite being it’s tiny size and poverty, the village put on a huge welcoming show for our delgation and for our whole stay made us feel both like honored guests and old friends.
One of the oldest storytellers in Geng Cun, Jin Zhengxing, in his late seventies, knows 400 stories and he has won many awards (including an UNESCO award). Another elderly man, Jin Jingxiang, 74, knows 300 stories. Many storytellers are illiterate or have had few years of schooling. Keeping the oral tradition alive helps preserve their history, folklore and and their own life experiences.
Eth-Noh-Tec named our group after the goddess Nuwa from the Chinese creation myth who created the first human beings. After the god of thunder and the god of the sea battled each other and broke the heavens, Nu Wa mended the sky and saved the people on earth from the Great Flood.
The spirit of Nu Wa, the Chinese creation goddess is still alive in images and stories and her healing energy still inspires rural people in China today. Paper cuts of Nu Wa, with fantastic variations decorate people’s front doors and window panes around the holidays. Nu Wa has acquired many names, including the Wife Who Sweeps the Sky, Chasing Out Sickness Doll, Banned Ghosts Doll, the Old Mother Who Brings Many Children and many others.