New Path for Traditional Chinese Culture Inheritance: A Method for Analysis of Visual Narratives in Peking Opera Communication via Douyin


Peking Opera is a national treasure with a history of over 200 years, which has been declared World Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2001. Suffering the same fate as traditional Chinese culture, Peking Opera has to confronted with the communication dilemma of a narrow audience and a lack of inheritor. With a large explosion of micro-video social platforms, such as Douyin/Tik Tok, Kuaishou/Kwai, it is unexpected that the traditional Chinese culture find the way out in micro-video platforms delivering through the network audience.

Douyin (globally known as Tik Tok), a micro-video platform is popular among China’s young social media users. According to the usage statistics of Douyin recently, 400 million daily active users were on Douyin, becoming the largest platform of culture and arts due to more than 93% traditional Chinese culture on it receiving 3.33 billion “like”. Moreover, Peking Opera is the most popular. The challenge of “#Who says Peking Opera doesn’t DOU” , has been streamed 1.08 billion times and also 5.8 million micro-videos uploaded by users.

Therefore, taken the Top 10 liked micro-videos of the “#Who says Peking Opera doesn’t DOU” as visual image texts, this paper will analyze the visual narratives present in the them on the perspective of visual narratology, revealing the reasons why the old style seems to revive on the popular media. The “visual turn” in cultural studies(Evans and Hall, 1999; Kress, 2009; Mitchell,2005), which points to the relevance of visual images for the understanding of culture. Focused on the visual grammar, this paper will further identify and form a visual structure for the communication of micro-videos, providing a good model for traditional Chinese culture in practical.

Moreover, based on the content analysis, it observed in terms of number of “Likes”, “Comments” and “Repost” and coded from three major aspects: quantified impact, video content, and video form on the perspective of visual narratology. Data mining is also utilized to comments of the Top 10 most viewed Peking Opera micro-videos, evaluating the attitudinal orientation of network audience. Finally, it tries to answer the following questions: (1) What are the characteristics of Peking Opera on Douyin? (2) Why Peking Opera is the most popular? (3)Who is its primary audience ? (4) How to inherit traditional Chinese culture well based on the Peking Opera case? Through the above, this research intends to contribute to a visual narrative model, giving suggestions on how to deal with the micro-video texts in cultural communication and to aid in the inheritance of traditional Chinese culture in a digital future.


Peking Opera, Douyin, micro-video, visual narratives, traditional Chinese culture