鍾秀雋。〈消逝的將藝：稻江霞海八將會〉。《民俗曲藝》186 (2014.12): 231-302。
Chung Shiu-chun. “The Lost Art of Martial Troupe: Daojiang Xiahai Bajiang Troupe.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 186 (2014.12): 231-302.
As the old saying goes, “On the thirteenth of the fifth month, people watch people.” It describes the spectacular event of Xiahai City God’s festival in Dadaocheng, Taipei. The economic boom in Dadaocheng, born out of a particular historical background, propelled the festival’s scale and popularity to its pinnacle. With a strong judicial character, the Xiahai City God’s festival was among the most important temple festivals in Taiwan.
One significant part of the culture of the performance troupes in Taiwan is for people to dress up as guardian generals of deities. This is even more obvious in judicial deities’ temple festivals. The Daojiang Bajiang Troupe, organized by the Xiahai City God Festival Committee, was a troupe composed of followers who would redeem their vow to the City God by serving as his guardian generals. It later developed into a troupe chosen to escort the City God’s palanquin. Unlike other martial performance troupes in Tainan or Xinzhuang, the growth and creativity of Daojiang Xiahai Bajiang’s characters, choreography, and paraphernalia were unique in the performance troupe culture and a pride of local people.
The Bajiang Troupe, organized and funded by local powers, had been active for more than twenty years. It was disbanded in the 1990s abruptly, leaving many questions behind. Why did such an important escort troupe of guardian generals suddenly disappear from the Xiahai City God’s festival stage? The Dadaocheng Temple Festival Exhibition in 2012 displayed several guardian general troupes like guanjiangshou and shijiajiang, bajiang, etc. However, there was no trace of the once-famous local troupe. The weird absence aroused my curiosity.
In this study, I did field investigation to describe in details the troupe’s origin and development, intention, and the process of its break-up. I investigate this troupe, its significance in the Xiahai City God festival, as well as local stories born out of decades of its vicissitude.