Kunqu Opera (UNESCO intangible heritage of humanity since 2003)
Originating in East China's Jiangsu Province, Kunqu opera was the type of opera that had the most writers and works during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It features a unique tune system, with each play consisting of a set of tunes adapted from the verse style of classical Chinese literature. There is an abundance of plays with elegant, flowery lyrics. The performance of Kunqu opera, a highly comprehensive art form, combines singing and dancing, with spoken parts and movement. The history of Kunqu opera's growth represents the development of Chinese opera as a whole. As Kunqu opera has had a direct influence on the formation and development of many opera styles including Peking opera, it has gained a reputation as the "ancestor of a hundred operas" in China.