Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Baatyam Percussion

    Photo by:Macao Taoist Orchestra Association
    Photo by:Macao Taoist Orchestra Association



    Photo by:Macao Taoist Association
    Photo by:Macao Taoist Association

    Photo by:Macao Taoist Association
    Photo by:Macao Taoist Association

    Introduction:

    The Baatyam percussion is a traditional instrumental ensemble performance of Guangdong province. Macao’s Baatyam percussion is derived from its Cantonese counterpart. It can be grouped into eight categories of different tones, according to the properties of the materials and the sound production of the instruments and instruments can be placed in a Baatyam cabinet that is used for the performance. Macao’s Baatyam percussion was mostly used in birthday celebrations for deities, weddings, festive celebrations or even funerals, being played during parades or in large spaces. Apart from folk activities, it was also played in Taoist ceremonies, for example, before and after the so-called “Shihe” (removal of a commoners’ costumes before they put on an official attire), as well as in the so-called  “ceremonies of offering to the deity and opening of the eye” (rituals of consecration and demonstration of gratitude to the deities), or in important Taoist rituals.

     

    Conservation Status:

    The Baatyam percussion performance has gradually declined since the 1970s. In recent years, its transmission has received greater attention from the public and some protection work has been carried out, such as the organization of written records of respective music scores. The existing scores of the Baatyam percussion include: Eight Immortals Bestowing Longevity, Prime Minister of Six States, The Jade Emperor Holding Court, The Fight among Courtiers, Finding True Love in Adversity, A Letter from Afar, Appointing Scholars.

     

    Heritage Value:

    Macao’s Baatyam percussion preserves complete music scores and valuable sound recordings. Its tune titles and music scores are important records about the legacy and evolution of traditional Cantonese performing arts in Macao. These elements have great significance and cultural value for the research about this old tradition.


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