Esplanade Presents


Exchange: Sacred Guardians

Iwasaki Onikenbai & Zhong Lian Dian Folk Arts (Japan, Singapore)

13 Apr 2024, Sat, 4.30pm


(Intermission: None)

Esplanade Recital Studio

Free, registration is required

Priority Registration for Esplanade&Me members: 15 – 21 Mar 2024
Public Registration: 22 Mar 2024, Fri, 10am

Register here

The concept of spiritual guardians can be found across cultures and belief systems. Spiritual guardians are often personified by devotees during ceremonies for various purposes, such as dispelling evil and bringing blessings to the community. 


In the Northern Japanese prefecture of Iwate, the heritage ritual of Oni Ken Bai is performed by the townsfolk of Kitakami. Wearing masks representing Buddhist guardians and brandishing swords, performers stamp the ground to purify the land.


In Singapore, the folk tradition of Guan Jiang Shou, which originated from Taiwan, has been incorporated into local Chinese religious celebrations and processions. Devotees apply elaborate face paint, and carry weapons to depict the generals of the underworld. Moving in symbolic formations, the generals clear the path of evil spirits, bringing them back to stand trial in the court of the nether world. 


Join this exchange between members of Iwasaki Onikenbai and Zhong Lian Dian Folk Arts as they share the differences and similarities in their traditions. Gain insight into the significance and processes of their artistic practices within their respective communities.

  • Patrons who have registered will have priority entry to the venue.

  • Patrons who have registered must arrive 5 mins before the start of the event to guarantee your admission.

  • Patrons who have registered but are not at the venue 5 mins before the start will have their seats released to walk-in patrons on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Limited seats are available at the door.

  • Seating will be assigned by Esplanade’s ushers.

Admission Age:
10 and above.
Language: English
Things to Note:
Accessibility Advisory: We provide a range of access services and relaxed performances for patrons with access needs. For wheelchair-accessible seats, please call Esplanade Customer Experience at 6828 8377 for assistance. Concessions for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and up to one accompanying companion are available. | View our accessibility guide
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Artist Information

Zhong Lian Dian Folk Arts

Zhong Lian Dian Folk Arts (中莲殿官将首八将团) is the first troupe in Singapore that presents the Guan Jiang Shou 官将首 (senior officials) and Ba Jiang 八将团 (eight generals) performances. It is also the only local group that is recognised in Taiwan, from which these folk processions originated. The troupe practises the Taiwanese style of face painting, and has continually perfected the art of Guan Jiang Shou with Chinese martial arts. The troupe has participated in festive celebrations across Singapore and Malaysia, and aims to promote and preserve Chinese traditional arts and culture. 

Date & Time

13 Apr 2024, Sat


Esplanade Recital Studio

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