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2015-02-24 16:57:42 | 点击: | VIDEO
Poor Man’s Fireworks



The steel industry in China’s rustbelt province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing, is sooner associated with choking smog than with beauty. But over 500 years ago, it produced a unique art form that still dazzles today.

Poor blacksmiths in the town of Nuanquan, in Hebei’s Yu county, found that if they hurled molten iron at the old city wall, it exploded in a shower of sparks in the cold night air. They donned sheepskins and straw hats to protect themselves, and used spoons made of hard willow wood to hurl the iron.

The practice, which produced showers of sparks like a leafy tree canopy, came to be known as dashuhua (打树花), which roughly translates as “throwing tree fireworks.”

While the rich bought expensive fireworks and firecrackers for the Lunar New Year, the poor pooled scrap iron to give the blacksmiths, and the performance became the centrepiece of the community’s celebrations.

Dashuhua is now promoted by the local government to attract New Year tourists, who must buy a ticket and sit through a variety performance for the privilege of witnessing it. But the sheepskins, straw hats and old alchemy remain unchanged.

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