Nuo, is the treasure product of a primitive religious belief; it is a mysterious and ancient ceremony of prevention from disease & bad spirit, as well as the hope for good luck & happiness; it is the oldest, most profound and active intangible heritage of China. It consists of Nuo Etiquette, Nuo theater, Nuo dance, Nuo Customs. In 2006, more than 10 items of Nuo were put into the index of national intangible heritage of China. These items are from Wu An (He Bei province), Chi zhou (An Hui province), Chen zhou and Dong minority (Hu Nan), An Shun and De Jiang and Yi minority (Gui Zhou), Mao Nan and Yao Lao minority (Gaung Xi), Nan Feng, Wu Yuan and Ping Xiang (Jiang Xi), Zhao Tong (Yun Nan) etc. This proves clearly Nuo theater’s importance and value.
Nuo was originally from the hunting skills and witchcraft of antique China, based on the rich earth of primitive culture with admiration to the nature, the tattoos, the ancestors, ghosts and gods. It’s prepared during the Neolithic period (7000-1600BC), started in the Xia and Shang dynasties (16th-11th BC), formed during the Zhou dynasty (11th - 256BC) and standardized by the Li (disciples and legacy). After a long history, Nuo theater became a huge cultural system with multiple religions, artistic forms, folk literature and legends etc.: a multiple and complex cultural space.
Nuo has a very strong consciousness of surviving and living expansion. It believes in supernatural power of human spirit and subjective illusion against agricultural disasters, and human corporal problems such as disease and infertility. It seeks for prosperity, longevity, fortune, peace and harmonious society.
Nuo, is a cohabitation phenomenon of many ancient tribes, families and nations, with different forms. During several millenniums’ history, thanks to the profound influence of the societies, religions and customs, Nuo is not only well preserved but also well developed and enriched. It’s introduced into Vietnam, Japan and Korean under the Han (206BC – 220AD) and Tang (618-907) dynasties. Until today, the old Nuo culture was hit somehow by the strong civilization of modern science. Some parts of the Nuo theater disappeared, some remain and some are transformed and live well in China. Many foreign researchers came to China for visit and research, and they could watch Nuo theaters which existed in their countries in the past. This helped them to study the Nuo phenomenon from the angles of anthropology, religion, folklore, ethnic and folk literature, in order to know better the history and beauty of the eastern ancient and mysterious civilization, also make comparison study between the western and eastern traditional cultures.