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Photographer's Note

Lion Dance origins are based on superstition and folklore. The Southern Lion is a composite of magical and mystical elements. The Southern Lion head and accompanying body come in various overall color themes. These themes give the Lion type its name, which is based on Three Generals or Heroes known as the 'Three Sworn Brothers of the Peach Garden' from Chinese history and immortalized in the Chinese classic novel "Romance Of The Three Kingdoms". Their names and hence the Lion's name (based on the color theme) are Lau Bei (yellow face, white beard, Guan Gong (red face, black beard) and Chang Fei (black or green face, black beard). These Generals were brothers and are also known as first, second and third sons, Lau Bei being 'big or first brother', Guan Gong being the 'second brother' and Chang Fei being the 'Third brother'. Lau Bei is the most auspicious and wise Lion and is the one used by long established Kung Fu Training Halls. Lau Bei is also the one most often used in Lion dance performances where good luck and prosperity want to be ensured. Guan Gong is the brave and loyal Lion and is used by more newly established Kung fu Training Halls, while Chang Fei is known as the fighting Lion because of its brash and pugnacious Nature and is used by new Training Halls wishing to establish themselves in the community. Today there are also many other colors of Lions, with Gold (basically Lau Bei) being very popular. Other features incorporated into the Southern Lion are the horn of the Phoenix, the ears and tail of the Unicorn, the beard of a Dragon and a mirror on its forehead to ward off evil or demons (demons are prevalent in Chinese superstition and mythology). In essence the Southern Lion dance performance is a rite of exorcism to bring good luck and prosperity

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Additional Photos by John Ye Ko (yekjohn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 96 W: 6 N: 284] (1890)
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