|Topic: Looking for info on mid-19th Century Chinese magicians|
|I know that sounds odd, but it's for a routine I'm working out for my show. I'm wondering if anyone knows of a Chinese magician who might have performed in China, specifically Hong Kong if possible, in the mid-19th Century, and what routines he/she might have performed.|
I've lived in Hong Kong for many years and I can tell you that it would be almost impossible to track down specific names of performers like that in the past. Since they usually play as part of a bigger show.
Surely the big names at the time would've toured and performed in Hong Kong due to the British influence, I believe you are after more Eastern Acts?
The tradional performances I am aware of are usually not purely magic, It is Chinese opera style which typically revolves around a story, (somewhat like a musical or play) and includes singing, dancing, acrobatics and magic.
I am sure you have been introduced to the Mask Changing acts which have since been over done due to the popularity in the west. That again is typically not presented as a standalone effect, rather it expresses the characters changing emotions.
Besides the mask changing act I have also witness routines where a sword appears and disappers during a by play of 2 characters, in that particular scene one of the characters attempts murder, the victim in many instances would turnaround it and it is then the murderer would vanish the sword. This was done multiple times with different methods fitting to the story.
These acts are still performed today as the Opera operates much like the travelling circus.
Have a look at Sichuan Operas - here's a link for you.
Hope this is of some help to you,
I have to agree with skc417
most of the chinese magicians of the 19th century
performed as part of opera or even circus or
a bigger troupe.
if you ever read jim stienmeyers book about
william robinson he talked about ching ling foo
who who probably is the only magician who
was well known during that time period.
but he and even long tak sam were more of a larger
yet, more than likely they wouldn't really perform
in hong kong as they traveled more in mainland, europe
and probably north and south america.
unlike the 20th century more asian styled inspired
magicians came about and there weren't as many
real chinese magicians.
my father is probably thee 20th century chinese magician
but he never performed in his homeland.