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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Authentic Chinese cups & balls routines (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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fortasse
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Looking for written sources of authentic Chinese cups & balls routines (whether translated into English or not).
Bill Palmer
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That reminds me of an awfully non-PC line on the first Kingston Trio album. Smile
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
lint
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Hi Fortasse,
An interesting topic. I am sure you are familiar with Joe Berg's routine. There are a few others that have the name Chinese in the title but since Magic went through such a fascination with all things of the orient in the past it is tough to tell what is authentic and what isn't.

One of the reasons I have nearly ceased trying to complete a cups & balls bibliography is because I cannot dig into the foreign language routines to document them. I am sure China has some wonderful old conjuring books. I would be interested in when a cups routine first showed up.

-Todd
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
fortasse
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Thanks, Todd. I'm familiar with the Joe Berg "Chinese" routine. I rather suspect that the only thing Chinese about it is the name....decidedly occidental, it seems to me.

S
Woland
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Fortasse,

How would you be able to tell that a particular routine had a Chinese origin? I am tabula rasa when it comes to authentically Chinese magic, so this is a simple question, not a challenge.

Thanks!

Woland
Bill Palmer
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I know that there are some early routines that appear in Chinese literature, or at least that is what I have been told.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Pete Biro
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A two bowl routine with RICE BOWLS, much like Takagi's.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
fortasse
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Woland :

Bill is right. If you have Chinese texts of authenticated antiquity and they contain descriptions of cups and balls routines that have no discernible connection to any known routines in western literature or the literature of other specific countries, it's not unreasonable to assume that those routines are indigenous to China. I've been told that there are such ancient texts and I've even been promised a copy of one of them which, of course, I would have to get translated.
Woland
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Fortasse,

Documents like that would indeed represent authentically Chinese routines. I would accept such a source even if there was evidence of foreign influence. And if you have been promised such a manuscript, then Bob's your uncle!

I am wondering if Needham's Science & Civilization in China does not contain a section on conjuring as one of the performing arts; it seems to encompass everything else . . . The Needham Research Institute in Cambridge might be worth contacting.

Woland
fortasse
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Thanks, Woland. I'll check it out.

Fortasse
Dale Houck
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Quote:
On 2010-06-11 19:35, fortasse wrote:
Woland :

I've been told that there are such ancient texts and I've even been promised a copy of one of them which, of course, I would have to get translated.


My wife is from China. Unless you already have a translator, she could do it. I find it interesting that while Cantonese and Mandarin speakers can't understand each other (unless they know both dialects) they have the same written language. It's my understanding that the Japanese written language originated from the Chinese written language as well, but has changed significantly over the centuries.
Magic is where you find it.....
Woland
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Dhouck,

That's a very generous offer.

The Chinese written character is a very interesting method of writing. It was imported into Japan and Korea under Chinese influence many centuries ago. In Japan, it has been largely supplanted by a system of about 100 syllabic characters, although most educated people can still read Chinese characters. If I remember correctly, it takes a knowledge of about 3,000 different characters in order to read a newspaper, but educated Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans can read newspapers from any one of those countries, provided they are written in characters.

In Korea, the Emperor Sejong the Great ordered his scholars to devise a phonetic alphabet about 500 years ago. They hated doing it, the story goes, because they felt that a phonetic alphabet was a token of barbarianism. However, it is good to be the king . . .

The Korean alphabet didn't gain wide currency until it was used by Protestant missionaries to spread the Bible. In fact, the Chinese character is a rather ineffective tool for representing the Korean language, which is very different grammatically even thought almost 60% of Korean words are loan words from Chinese. The Korean alphabet is a brilliant alphabet and can be learned, with a bit of application, in a day. Almost all Korean words are phonetically spelled, and there are very few silent letters. With the introduction of foreign loan words from European languages (i.e. English) there are a few tricks representing sounds that are absent from the Korean language (like "f"). In South Korea, educated people are still taught about 2,000 Chinese characters, and some of the newspapers occasionally use them for a word or two here and there in order to give an air of intellectual class. But in North Korea, the use of Chinese characters was abolished entirely.

I hope that fortasse finds the manuscripts he is looking for soon!

Woland
Bill Palmer
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That explains a lot. The North Koreans have "characters" of their own. Smile
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Pete Biro
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Woland... you sure are a fountain of knowledge... a "belated" welcome.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
fortasse
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You can certainly say that again, Pete! Thanks, Woland, for your very illuminating contributions. And thank you, Dale, for your very kind offer. I have a Chinese translator standing by already if the promised text ever materializes (which, frankly, I'm now beginning to doubt).

Will keep you all posted.

Fortasse
Woland
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Mr. Biro, Thanks for the recognition. I don't know very much, but perhaps what I know differs somewhat from what may be known here, and if so, I am pleased to contribute it.

By the way, I am reminded of a very interesting Chinese film, called "Bian Lian" or "The King of Masks," concerning the ancient street-performance art of rapidly changing face masks that depict characters in the Chinese opera (in less than a second). It was quite a heart-warming story.

It makes me think that there must be in China a very developed tradition of street magic performance that must include C & B routines.

I hope that you are successful, fortasse, in uncovering some of the beauties of that tradition.

Woland
lint
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I have "The King of Masks" qued on my Netflix streaming. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet.
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
Woland
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I just looked at the last 10 minutes on YouTube.

You will love it.

It may be more for the "Side Walk Shuffle" than here, but it is great.

The sleight involves the instantaneous changing of a mask -- up to a couple of dozen times.

Woland
nornb
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Hello,

"Chinese Classic Illusions Magic"
Chief Editor: Chen Runhua
Authors: Fu Qifeng Xu Qiu
Translator: Wang Zhiwei

ISBN 978-7-5059-6390-0
Published in 2009, Launched at FISM2009 Beijing has some information on a range of Chinese magic.

The Chinese term for Cups and Balls is Bowl and Beans (The Immortal Sowing Beans)
The book is Bilingual (Chinese at the front English at the back). I haven't studied the book properly yet, I find the language a little difficult to follow.

This is a book on magic, written and produced in China concerning traditional magic.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/t......DtPmubgA

Abbots may have produced a booklet on traditional Chinese magic at one point, I do not have my notes to hand. There is a gentleman in Singapore (I think, no notes again,) who has been collating lots of information on tradition Chinese magic. I will try and guide him to this thread.
fortasse
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Nornb :

Thanks much for this. I'll be sure to check it out.

Fortasse
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