A Video Walkthrough of an Archery Ritual from Beijing Hanfu Association

As mentioned in 2009 on this blog in detail regarding the logistics and music (and more) of the She Li, or Archery Ritual, here is a detailed, half-hour special produced by our friends in Beijing Hanfu Association on the rundown of the ritual itself.

The language spoken is Mandarin, but we have (painstakingly) annotated the entire episode on Youtube, in the English language.

Let us make our small contribution, to revive our Nation of Rituals and Righteousness!


Notice of event detail & time change for Sept.24 Ceremony


To all who those who are interested on the September 24th Coming-of-Age Ceremony;


Thank you for your continued attention on this event.
We regretfully inform that due to financial and venue difficulties, the original intended plan for a full Guan-Li (Chinese coming-of-age ceremony), followed by a She-li (Archery ceremony) on the 24th of September at 2 to 4 PM is rescheduled.

The new time and location is now integrated with CSSAUO’s evening variety event on the same day (Sept.24, 2009) at 7PM, in Ryerson Theatre. Tickets to this event are priced at $10, purchasable from http://1ticket.ca/html/onshow/2009/0831/31.html.

To this end, we also regret to inform that due to timing constraints, we are only able to retain one Jia (adding headpieces, changing clothes) sequence from the originally intended three Jia. The Archery Ceremony is also forced to cancel due to the new venue’s technical restriction. However, this does not detract the upcoming ritual from its sacred properties, and is just as legitimate and authentic. Our participants are just as committed as before.

Our hope in this cooperation is to bring to the Toronto community-at-large the authentic spirit and face of traditional Chinese ritual, music and culture. This setback is by no means dented our determination to strive for this end. It is our intention that in the foreseeable future, we will again organize a similar event. If any individuals or organizations are interested in learning or interviewing about or actualizing traditional Chinese ritual and arts, please do not hesitate to contact the Toronto Guqin Society (TorGuqin) for consultation or partnership.


With a deep bow in sincere apologies,

Joshua Yushuai Cai, CUAUT (www.cuaut.org)
Juni Lefeuille Yeung, TorGuqin (https://torguqin.wordpress.com)




很遺憾地﹐我們因財政及場地等種種困難﹐原定在二零零九年九月二十四日下午二時到四時的三加冠笄禮(傳統華夏成人禮) 及射禮(傳統射箭項目) 將會受到時間變動。

新的時間安排是同一天的晚上﹐於安省中國學生學者聯誼會聯盟(CSSAUO) 的『中國風﹐海外情』晚會﹐即二零零九年九月二十四日晚上七時﹐於懷雅遜大學劇院(Ryerson Theatre) 中舉行。該晚會門票可在網上購得﹐地址為﹕http://1ticket.ca/html/onshow/2009/0831/31.html﹐價錢為十元。

於此﹐我們亦因為此更動後附上的時間限制﹐原定的三加(即換戴三套衣服及頭飾) 簡短為一加﹐射禮亦室內場地技術困難而被迫取消。但是﹐這並不代表儀式的神聖及莊重性質有任何的減省。我們的參禮者一直保持著對该节目的重視及熱誠。




蔡寓帥Joshua Cai,  多倫多大學中國大學生聯合會 (www.cuaut.org)
楊儁立Juni Yeung , 多倫多古琴社 (https://torguqin.wordpress.com)

Chinese Coming-of-Age Ceremony and Archery Ceremony, Sept. 24, 2009

2006112522421411904The Toronto Guqin Society (TQS) and University of Toronto Chinese Undergraduate Association(CUAUT) will be performing a traditional Chinese coming-of-age ceremony, followed by a Chinese Archery ceremony. This is a part of a larger series of cultural events organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association of Ontario United(CSSAUO), in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

The ceremonies will take place on September 24, 2009, from 2-4PM, in the Quadrangle (open grass area) of Ryerson University (41 Gerrard St. E.).  General admittance to the traditional ceremonies in the afternoon is free of charge. Tickets to the evening venue are priced at $10, and are purchasable from www.1ticket.ca

TQS has painstakingly researched the details of the ritual and has successfully recovered and restored the previously thought lost music score from the Book of Odes, and will be integrating four sections with the ceremony, performed by members of TQS and the Toronto Chinese Symphony. Be sure to come witness this rare glimpse of traditional Chinese ritual and court music!

                Traditionally, males at age 20 and females at age 15 undergo the coming-of-age, and the rituals are called Guan-li冠禮 and Ji-li笄禮respectively. Participants undergo three changes of traditional clothing and headwear to represent the process of maturity, legal empowerment, and burdening of social responsibility. Finally, the mentor figure gives every participant a unique zi 字, or courtesy name, to be used by others referring to the new adults as an honorific.

                The She-li射禮, or Archery ritual, was used in pre-Confucian China as a method of leader selection. Confucian revisionism gave this ritual additional meaning of demonstrating proper ritual, manners, music, social order, and using a weapon for peace and education.

                These rituals were lost in practice due to Manchurian imposing bans and censors on Han Chinese clothing and traditional culture during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), as well as Imperialism and Westernization since the 1850’s. Since 2003, an Internet movement beginning in China called on everyone to rediscover the lost Han Chinese culture and promote its value to global multiculturalism, debunking past stereotypes and taking pride in the Chinese heritage.

                 This event is officially supported by CSSAUO, TQS, and the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto. The evening show is officially sponsored by CIBC, China Unionpay, and Scotiabank.

Related Downloads:

An introduction to Traditional Han Chinese Clothing 
Ritual Itinerary
A detailed account of the Guan-li (Coming-of-age ceremony)
A detailed account of the She-li (Archery ceremony)

She Li, The Archery Ritual

Translated from Yi Li and Tianfeng Huanpei‘s Han Chinese Traditional Ritual Revival Proposition Project.

The Archery Ceremony.

The Archery Ceremony.


Archery Ceremony




Chinese civilization honours its forefathers and the roots of its civilization by commemorating and sharing its past role of a hunter in a ritualized competition of archery. Following the downfall of traditional rituals, this originally widespread ceremony held by civilians to greet important guests has all but disappeared. However, other countries in the Sinosphere has maintained this tradition, and is best known by the Japanese counterpart today as Kyudo.


The point of the She-Li, or Archery ceremony, is to demonstrate to the public (and the King, in the past) the virtue of the shooter – the Chinese believe that it is not in the quality of the bow, but in the moral resolve, ethical virtue, spiritual refinement, and proper physical condition combined that makes an outstanding person to shoot properly, and is a testing stone to his (or her) ability to serve and lead others. With this philosophy, Confucian scholars have turned this weapon of war into a tool of peace and education.


The Archery Ceremony is not a competition or a game: Aside from the personal spiritual refinement (“If one fires but misses the target… one should find its causes from within[1]”), it also raises personal awareness and alertness to his or her surroundings, and giving a sense of temperance and responsibility to maintain social order, with the bow giving a chance to its beholder a feel for (lethal) power. More details of the meaning and benefits of ritualized archery can be found in the Book of Rites (禮記 Li Ji), under the chapter Meaning of Archery (射義 She Yi).


Guan Li, the coming-of-age ritual

Translated from Yi Li, and Tianfeng Huanpei‘s Proposition for Revival of Han Chinese ceremony Project:

A Coming-of-age ceremony at a Confucian tutelage.

A Coming-of-age ceremony at a Confucian tutelage.

The Guan Li (冠禮, lit. “headpiece/coronation ceremony”) is a traditional rite by the Han Chinese to signify the coming of age or adulthood of the receiving participant. According to the Book of Rites, males are of age by 20 and females by 15 (in which their ceremony is called Ji Li 笄禮, lit. “hairpin ceremony”), but in context of modern-day societal standards, 18~20 years of age is the ideal time for the ceremony for both genders, with standardized routines to signify the equality between the two.


With the onset of Westernization, the function of this rite has been split into two other rituals: Convocation and marriage, as per Western standards. While Japan and Korea retains a statuary day and ceremony of the same purpose (Seijin no Hi, on January 15 for Japan; third Monday of May in Korea), the practice is generally lost in the Chinese communities, partly due to effects from Queue Order and the Manchurian invasion of 1644, the disfavouring of tradition in the early 20th century, and the opinion of technical incompatibility with Western practices today.


With the rise of living standards in China today, the Chinese people are beginning to rediscover their diverse heritages. Even as the leading ethnicity in the PRC, the Han Chinese tradition is often overlooked as a mysterious or stagnant culture, but little was done to make it more understandable and relatable, until the traditional clothing revival movement (Hanfu Movement) started in 2003, popularizing the clothing before the influence of the Queue Order and bringing back civil rituals to mainstream society.



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