Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Taoist Ritual Music

    Taoism is a religion native to China. Taoist Ritual Music, which is commonly used in Taoist ceremonies, remains an integral part of traditional Chinese folk music.

    During the early twentieth century, a number of married Taoist priests from the Zhengyi School moved to Macao from Guangdong. In 1923 and 1933, the Guangzhou Sanyuan Taoist Monastery and Luofushan Chongxu Taoist Monastery were twice invited by the Macao Kiang Wu Hospital to set up a grand altar to initiate ritual ceremonies to pray for those suffering storm disasters and for the cemetery relocation. This also presented an opportunity for the introduction of the Taoist Ritual Music of the Guangdong Quanzhen School to Macao, and contributed to the harmonious co-existence of the Taoist Ritual Music from the Zhengyi School and Quanzhen School.

    After 200 years of development, the co-existence of Zhengyi and Quanzhen ritual music has become a unique religious music imbued with Macao’s local flavours, and is rarely heard in Taoist schools in other areas. Nearly 500 items of Taoist Ritual Music from the Lingnan Zhengyi and Quanzhen schools have been preserved in Macao until present. Such a large number of repertoires is unrivalled by any other taoist ritual music genre in the world.

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