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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way!

After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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Home  »  China Travel Guide  »  Beijing Culture  »  Folk Sports  »  
Playing Diabolo

As one sort of Beijing traditional culture, playing diabolo (抖空竹) is prevailing in Beijing, Tianjin, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, etc. It used to be a courtyard game, after the reformation and improvement, it turns to be traditional acrobatics. Diabolo is made of bamboo, empty in the middle. Player holds two 2-chi long bamboo sticks with two hands, shaking up and down alternatively. When revolving quickly, diabolo makes sound of buzz.

In Northern China, on New Year’s Day or other festivals, especially children like playing diabol with many tricks. Diabolo is the combination of entertainment, fitness, competition and performance. At present, there are more than 100 sorts of techniques such as double person, multiple person and so on.

Diabolo has been greatly developed in recent years. According to the function, there are electric diabolo, pansi diabolo and regular diabolo. Diabolo are made of bamboo, wood, plastic, metal and rubber owing to the plentiful of materials. There are single diabolo and double diabolo based on different playing way.

Playing diabolo has a long history in China. As early as the period of three kingdoms, Cao Zhi, the son of Cao Cao, wrote a poem about diabolo. Song Jiang, in the middle period of Song Dynasty, once described diabolo in his poem. The book wrote in Ming Dynasty described the manufacture and playing methods. Playing diabolo had been a popular acrobatics in Qing Dynasty from 1644 to 1911. Difficulty level and variety were improved a lot on the former basis.

The performance accompanying with exquisite dance and music improved sense of art of public. It was amazing that in the early of Republic of China (1912-1949), a Tianjin artist named Tian Shuangliang played wine gourd instead of diabolo. Tianjian is the earliest place creating diabolo, some of which are well-known at home and abroad such as brand of Liu Hai and Shouxing.

Diabolo primarily was royal tool, afterwards it got prevailing among civil as a sort of household body-building activity. After the founding of New China, diabolo recall the vitality again with the development of reform and openness. Especially in Beijing, Tianjin, Zhengzhou, Xian, Shijiazhuang, Jinan and so on, playing diabolo boosted quickly. The capital of Shan Dong province, Jinan founded up a Aged DiaboloTeam to push the activity into developing track.

On 20th, May, 2006, playing diabolo was approved into the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage by the state council. On 5th, June 2007, Zhang Guoliang and Li Lianyuan from Xuanwu District, Beijing were designated as the inheritor of the legacy project and listed into the 226 representative successors of the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage list, determined by the state Ministry of Culture.

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