‘Olympic Drums’ Were Funeral Implements
‘Olympic Drums’ Were Funeral Implements

During the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the drummers wore costumes that looked like it was stained with a streak of blood. Some pointed out that the drummers looked like they were split in two. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
During the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the drummers wore costumes that looked like it was stained with a streak of blood. Some pointed out that the drummers looked like they were split in two. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
While it's been nearly seven months since the Beijing Olympic Games, there remains a lot of controversy over the opening ceremony. On March 18, freelance writer Zhou Xiao, published an article titled, "Olympics Drums Are Funeral Implements; Those Who Bought the Drums at Auctions Were Duped." The article spread quickly online. Within a day, it appeared on more than 14,600 websites.

Zhou quoted Professor Zhu Dake of Tongji University, who believes that the drums (called "fou" in Chinese) have been used in funerals for more than 2,000 years. People used the instrument to express sorrow.

Although the fou drums were used for music in the Qin State during the Warring State Period (476 BC – 221 BC), Qin State's music and literature were considered inferior when compared with its peer states. Since the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), fou drums were used exclusively for funerals.

Professor Zhu Dake said that using the fou drums during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games was against traditional rituals. When philosopher Zhuang Zi's wife died, Zhuang Zi hit a fou drum to mourn. This tradition has continued to today in Hubei province during funeral processions.

Others commented online, "These drums look inauspicious. Were they really shaped like the fou drums? They look like coffins."

Read original article in Chinese.

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