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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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epoptika
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Woland,
Very interesting info on Asian alphabets.

Do you, perchance, have any idea how they did/do the typesetting for Chinese newspapers? I would imagine it is an easier undertaking in the age of computers but I've always wondered about this whenever I see newspapers in an Asian language. (Also wondered if they have the equivalent of typewriters?)
jazzy snazzy
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Image

Guess you put the paper in sideways.
"The secret of life is to look good from a distance."
-Charles Schulz
Woland
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Epotika,

Typesetting characters is very challenging, but can be accomplished because the tens of thousands of characters can be written (or typeset) and organized on the basis of their components. That is, most of the characters are built up out of a more limited number of basic strokes. It is those basic strokes that would be displayed on a keyboard, and by typing them in the right order, a character could be constructed. It is easier with computers, because the computer can guess which character you are constructing, and aid the process.

In Korean, words are written as a series of syllables, and the letters in each syllable are organized so that it will resemble a Chinese character, rather than an alphabetically written word. As you type on the keyboard, the letters are first displayed in a linear fashion, but as the computer realizes which word you are typing, the letters are grouped together in a syllable.

I don't know anything at all about typesetting or computer keyboards in Japanese.

The Thai alphabet seems much more difficult to me.

Woland
fortasse
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Just how does one go about accessing (or, failing that, constructing) a bibliography of cups and balls routines native to mainland China? I seem to be drawing a lot of blanks. There must be a substantial body of Chinese literature on this particular subject but if there is, I'm no closer to discovering it.

Fortasse
lint
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Fortasse,
I recall a VHS tape titled Oriental Mysteries by Quin Ming Xiao teaching (among other traditional Chinese magic) a cups and balls routine. My Google searching is turning up nothing though (If I remember I saw the tape on eBay long ago).

Regarding your question on how one goes about discovering traditional routines from China. How does one do it for any language they are not native to? I ran into this as a roadblock many times in my research. I think the only way is to hire research assistants that are knowledgeable in the area you are interested in. A pricey endeavor. I even requested a research grant from the Conjuring Arts Institute but was denied at the time I requested.

The Cups, being as old as they are in this art we enjoy seemingly provide an endless search for those of us who love the routine.

-todd
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
Woland
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If the film "King of Masks" presents an accurate picture of a Chinese street performer in the first third of the 20th century, the major part of the knowledge of traditional Chinese performance practices would have been passed on from master to disciple directly, and within a family. So there may in fact not be as extensive a written literature as we would like to uncover, and much of that very possibly written by outsiders. (Unless I am mistaken, Mr. Palmer has concluded, analogously, that Reginald Scot was not a performer of our magic.)

Woland
fortasse
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If you're proven right about China, Woland, I suspect the same may be true for Africa as well where the oral tradition has been dominant.

Todd, thanks for the lead about the tape. I'll check it out. I agree, of course, that I have to depend on those who are conversant with Chinese languages to conduct this kind of research. That's what I've been doing......and I'm still drawing blanks.....but still plugging away.

Fortasse
Pete Biro
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I think I may have the Quin Ming Xiao video. Will look tomorrow.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Al Kazam the Magic Man
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I could be wrong about this, but it's very possible that the "Quick changing Masks" that are noted in Chinese and Japanese opera are more related to the performing arts (traditional Japanese and Chinese musical operas/dramas) than to performing magicians. There are different traditional opera companies who travel all over doing there shows wherever they can. I saw these all over Taiwan during my time there. I would always try and stop and take a look for a while and cheer them on. They are most often called upon during auspicious times of the religious calendar or also at funerals funnily enough. If the deceased was a big fan of traditional opera, the family may call a troupe to come and perform at the home of the deceased.

They generally live in their large transporters which double as their stage, dressing area, make up etc. Sort of like a gypsy style of life. Many or most of them have been in the troupe for most of their lives, and travel with their kids and the "Band" as a lot of the sounds and effects are done live, along with a backing track of the main music. It's all very old world, and something to admire and encourage. It's all too unfortunate that due to the advance of electronics and cable TV, and more modern forms of entertainment, many of these troupes are having to fold due to a lack of opportunity and ways to support their lifestyles.

Of all the Chinese magicians I met, none of them did traditional "Chinese" magic, though they all do some form of the rings. I only knew one that did the cups and balls. It's also unfortunate that most of the local Taiwanese magicians are basically copying the routines they see the more famous western magi perform.

I'm also a bit skeptical about finding older chinese manuscripts with routines for the cups and balls. (OH one other thing, if you are looking to get them translated into English, make sure you have someone who can read the older traditional Chinese characters. The characters in use now are "New Chinese" and have been quite simpified from the older ones. Young Chinese people in China now, could not probably read the older characters.)
Al Kazam --> Magic guy in Perth Australia
nornb
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Hello,

Bowl and Beans (Cup and balls) Videos the links to whichwere supplied by Teh Ah Hock. These are on Chinese Websites.

Bowl and beans - you only need to watch first half of the 6 minutes (adverts)
http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/td4P7okj0uA/

Bowl and beans 5 Bean
http://v.ku6.com/show/ANmvsYo5hxdih8Vo.html


I know Mr. Teh Ah Hock through Facebook and the old FISM2009 Website.
He is very knowledgeable on Chinese Magic.
He has been unable to register here on the Magiccafe (something to do with his email address) however he has sent me some online links to video performances of the Bowl and Beans and other traditional Chinese magic.
Best regards.
karnak
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When I was a young kid in the 1960s and browsing (drooling) through my first-ever magic catalog (Top Hat Magic Company of Evanston IL, ordered from an ad in "Boys Life" magazine for the princely sum of ten cents), I recall seeing a catalog description therein for something called "Chinese Cups and Balls." Thought today I cannot recall the details, the effect was described at length, and it had me floored -- my only exposure to the cups and balls at that time was the quickie penetration (sorry!) routine that came with my cheap red/yellow/blue plastic Adams set, and this "Chinese" version sounded orders of magnitude more amazing. Of course, priced at an astronomical (for a ten-year-old kid) seven bucks, it was out of my range, so I never acquired that particular marvel... but I've always remained curious about that particular routine, if only for nostaligic reasons. Could this have been the Joe Berg routine someone mentioned in an earlier post? How does that one play out, or what's unique about his routine? I can find no information online about it, so would be grateful to learn a little more about these "Chinese Cups & Balls" that have piqued my interest for so long...
For a supernatural chiller mixing magic (prestidigitation, legerdemain) with Magic (occultism, mysticism), check out my novel MAGIC: AN OCCULT THRILLER at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836
lint
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Great videos. Looks like you have some good leads Sean.
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
lint
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Quote:
On 2010-06-16 10:58, karnak wrote:
When I was a young kid in the 1960s and browsing (drooling) through my first-ever magic catalog (Top Hat Magic Company of Evanston IL, ordered from an ad in "Boys Life" magazine for the princely sum of ten cents), I recall seeing a catalog description therein for something called "Chinese Cups and Balls." Thought today I cannot recall the details, the effect was described at length, and it had me floored -- my only exposure to the cups and balls at that time was the quickie penetration (sorry!) routine that came with my cheap red/yellow/blue plastic Adams set, and this "Chinese" version sounded orders of magnitude more amazing. Of course, priced at an astronomical (for a ten-year-old kid) seven bucks, it was out of my range, so I never acquired that particular marvel... but I've always remained curious about that particular routine, if only for nostaligic reasons. Could this have been the Joe Berg routine someone mentioned in an earlier post? How does that one play out, or what's unique about his routine? I can find no information online about it, so would be grateful to learn a little more about these "Chinese Cups & Balls" that have piqued my interest for so long...


Here is a description from the booklet:

"EFFECT: Performer shows three cups and five small balls, placing the
cups mouth-down on the table. He then picks up one ball at a time from
the table and places it either on top or underneath a cup. The balls are
caused to seemingly disappear, reappear and to hop about in a very mysterious
and startling manner, until they all reappear underneath one of the cups."

Interesting note about this routine is it uses 5 balls which is starting to look like part of a "traditional" Chinese cup routine.

-todd
"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
Woland
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Yes, both of those Chinese videos show the use of 5 balls. The geometric arrangement of the cups and balls at the beginning of the routine is also interesting.

Woland
lynnef
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Charlie Miller shows a Chinese cups and balls routine in a video for Stevens Magic. I don't know about authenticity, but he uses a small doll instead of a wand, and the cups allow for grasping the bottoms with just 2 fingers.
This video is very good by the way, featuring early Ammar, Johnny Paul and Mike Rogers and all hosted by Johnny Thompson!
Bill Palmer
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The routine for Joe Berg's Chinese Cups is available on the Conjuring Arts website. It does use five balls, but they are sponge balls, so at least part of that is not traditional.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
fortasse
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If any of you haven't checked out the Chinese C&B videos that Nornb posted on this thread, would strongly urge you to. They are outstanding. Incidentally, these Chinese routines and techniques appear to have very strong similarities to the Indian C&B.
Bernard Sim
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I did a google using Chinese Character and here's the results
http://www.google.com.sg/search?hl=en&rl......gs_rfai=
Bernard Sim
Bill Palmer
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Very interesting. Some of the techniques are very similar to the ones we use here.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Lawrence O
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There is a full routine with no text but just a long and detailed series of drawings in "Magic Around The World" and it's a good routine with tea cups and chop sticks. I've thought for years that it would be nice to do this with fake sushis (even if these are Japanese) of the kind that we get where we buy the fake fruits as large loads.
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
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