Zhenzong (振宗藝術團) Art Troupe – Taiwan
Zhen Zong Art Troupe (振宗藝術團)
Zhen Zong Art Troupe (振宗藝術團) was founded in 1995 by Fang Tsung Yin (方宗寅). Chief Fang has his roots in Song Jiang Battle Array and Martial arts and has passed his skills on to create an innovative troupe that strives to revitalize traditional folk arts without losing their traditional essence.
They perform Techno Santaitz (電音三太子), Bajiajiang (both male and female troupes (八家將(男女)). Eighteen Lohan (羅漢十八銅人), Dragon Dance (舞龍), Lion Dance (舞獅) Drumming(鼓藝), Tiaogu (跳鼓陣), Martial Art and Acrobatic Performance (武術), Dance(舞蹈), Zhong Kui Troupe (鍾馗), Song Jiang Battle Array (宋江陣) and more.
Zhenzong (振宗藝術團) Art Troupe since 1995, Neimen, Taiwan
These girls were amazing. I arranged to meet and take their portraits before a performance in Fengshan. I set up inside Shen Wang Temple (開漳聖王廟) and they posed in full costume before doing four different stage performances (one Bajiajiang, one Tiaogu and two other zhentou performances) and then whisked off to Nantz for another performance. I also met up with more of the troupe at their base near Neimen where I was able to be a lot more creative with the lighting.
The Eight Generals are a zhentou (陣頭) often seen at traditional temple festivals where they stride ahead of processions to drive evil spirits away. Currently, Zhenzong has one of the few female Bajiajiang troupes in Taiwan.
Each Bajiajiang in a troupe is different and has a specific role to perform; torture, interrogate, punish etc. They can be identified by their face-paint and attire. This girl is not one of the ‘core’ eight generals, she is literary messenger (文差 Wenchai) one of the messengers in the front of the troupe. The messengers deliver messages from the god to the generals who carry out the order. She wears a tiger motif vest (虎紋背心), carries a fan in one hand and a ‘warrant board’ (令牌) in the other.
A female Zhenzong member performing the role of General Fan of the Bajiajiang, or Eight Generals, at Shen Wang Temple in October 2011 in Fengshan District, Kaohsiung City.
This is one of the four generals that bring up the rear, the ‘four season’ generals.
Martial arts troupe performer 藍小佑 delivers a flying kick at the troupe’s base in Muzha Village, Neimen District, Kaohsiung City in October 2011. (武術︰拳術自選套路、騰空擺連腿，服裝︰功夫裝)
Troupe member dressed as Zhong Kui (鐘馗)
Martial arts troupe performer with a Spring Autumn Epoch sword (Guandao) wearing bandit costume with dragon motif. 武術︰春秋大刀，服裝︰龍紋山賊服 . Tang Fu Jen (湯福仁)
Troupe chief, Fang Tsung Yin (方宗寅), founded Zhen Zong Art Troupe in 1995. His father was a member of the Hengshan Song Jiang Zhen Troupe (橫山宋江陣) and he naturally followed suit. It was the martial arts aspects of the training that Fang had a talent for and he became a very accomplished martial arts master who was invited to study at the famous Shaolin monastery and martial arts school in China. More information about Zhen Zhong Art Troupe (振宗藝術團) can be found here and here