Although their Mongol overlords (beginning with the founding of the Yuan dynasty by Kublai Khan in 1280) tyrannized the Chinese in nearly every area of life, the arts enjoyed a new-found freedom. On the one hand oppressed, on the other released from the straight-jacket of Confucianism, the Chinese made the most of recent developments in poetry and drama. Yuan plays were a tonic, an amazing spectacle - colorful outbursts of singing, dancing, music, acting and mime. They poured new life into old stories - oppressors were ridiculed, servants became masters, scenes changed, day followed night in the twinkling of an eye - and audiences flocked to enjoy what must have been complete entertainment.
This volume contains six of the best Yuan plays, together with an introduction to the genre and a brief essay on each play.