Chinese operas originated from the song and dance performances in the prehistoric religious ceremonies. Later， these primitive performances absorbed other acting forms such as farces and finally developed into operas， a comprehensive acting form chiefly featuring singing and talking. Together with the ancient Greek dramas and Indian Sanskrit plays， the Chinese operas have been valued as an art treasure representing the ancient civilization of the world.
In Song Dynasty， with the development of social economy and culture and the overall improvement of living standards， common people tended to go in for entertainment and the ruling class advocated the education of the ruled through fun. In such circumstances， variety plays， which combined miscellaneous acting art forms， appeared and gained wide popularity. Till the period of the Yuan Dynasty， on the basis of the variety play and professional scripts and modes of ancient Chinese music known to have flourished in the Jin period， a kind of poetic drama came into existence， which symbolized the ancient Chinese drama art had entered into a mature phase.
Shanxi is one of the cradles of Chinese operas. Shanxi has witnessed
dramatists of great fame coming forth in great number and opera stages
spreading all over villages and towns. Rich in opera relics of great variety， Shanxi is well known as “hometown of Chinese opera art”. And the
south of Shanxi， especially the districts around
Linfen， has been prosperous in economy and culture
since ancient times and has nourished the opera art forms of Song and Yuan