Approaching the hometown of Jiangxi opera - Leping, Jiangxi, people will find a unique cultural landscape with 412 ancient stages in graceful shape and different styles. Due to their large quantity, magnificent art, and unique style, these ancient stages are honored by architecture experts as “A Wonder in China” and “The Most Unique Cultural Heritage of Jiangxi”, and Leping is therefore also known as “A Museum of Chinese Ancient Stage.” Why are there so many beautifully decorated stages in the villages around a city just with an area of 1973 square kilometers like Leping? You can get a glimpse of it from the book Ancient Stage in Leping of China. This book is written in Chinese and English and divided into six chapters: introduction, cultural origin, stage variety, artistic appreciation, stele and couplet highlights and opera convention and style, through which this book, from different perspectives, interprets the architectural characteristics and cultural features of the ancient stages in Leping, and shows Leping’s traditional culture character and romantic charm with its unique local color by vivid pictures and languages. Therefore this book is a classic to understand China’s local opera culture, folk opera custom and art of ancient architecture. Leping is located in the transition zone from the mountain of northeastern Jiangxi to the Poyang Plain, and enjoys fertile land, and rich products. Most of the residents there are immigrants after the turmoil in Late Tang Dynasty. They settled down as families and survived. These immigrants have brought not only a strong desire to survive but also a diversified civilization. These people settled ceaselessly strove, collided, also interacted, mingled, and gradually formed a unique and presentable opera culture and folk culture by themselves. With the opera performed, the stage emerges as the times require. The performances of Jiangxi opera are exceptionally splendid in the urban and rural areas of Leping. Such villages and towns as Zhenqiao are usually called as “Hometown of Jiangxi Opera” in Leping, and the famous “Leping tune”, also known as “High tune” is the main branch of the Jiangxi opera in the history. With the formation and development of Jiangxi opera in Leping, the ancient stages in Leping have emerged and increased accordingly, and gradually have become a unique architectural art which is closely related to Jiangxi opera and keeps pace with it. Compared to the brilliant Jiangxi opera, the ancient stage architecture is even more brilliant. The exquisitely beautiful stages have performed those eternal classics through the ages.
The ancient stages in Leping are not only large in number, wide in distribution, but also rich in variety, and splendid in style. As far as the attribute is concerned, the stages are divided into five types: ancestral, eternity, temple, guild hall, and family ones. Now, the stages in Leping that can be called as ancient ones in real sense and can be found everywhere actually are the ancestral stage and eternity stage.After reading Ancient Stage in Leping of China, we are not only aware of some China’s local opera culture, folk opera custom and art of ancient architecture, but also feel that the ancient stage in Leping, is more than just a well-preserved architecture, and it is an indispensable venues of entertainment for local villagers. Such stage is the symbol, the totem, and the spiritual palace of the villagers.