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Xiaolin Saltwater Songs (Jinwan District-level intangible cultural heritage)


Updated: 2020-11-10


Xiaolin Saltwater Songs [Photo by Zhang Zhou / Guanhai App]

Saltwater Songs are sung by waterfront boat dwellers – the Dan clan. They feature simple but delightful tunes and evocative lyrics related to Dan marriage and funeral customs, production, and lives, as well as local placenames and landforms.

Although the song style and tunes are similar, the lyrics vary greatly from region to region, including the change of place names, farming and fishing operations, people and events, which provide research materials for the study of local history.

Xiaolin lands are mostly formed by the accumulation of tidal flats. During the 1871-1908 reign of Emperor Kuang-hsu (Guangxu) of the Qing Dynasty, many Dan people and refugees flocked in, reclaiming land from the sea in Xiaolin and leading a half-agricultural and half-fishing life. Saltwater songs were introduced during this time.

Xiaolin Saltwater Songs were designated a district-level intangible cultural heritage in November 2020.


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