The Changshan war drum, a national-level intangible cultural heritage, is representative of folk art performances in Zhengding county, northeast of Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei province. The county, named Changshan in ancient times was hometown of Zhao Zilong, a prominent military general in the Three Kingdoms Period(220-180). Local folklore tells that Zhao directed his soldiers to beat drums to boost morale in the battlefield and finally frightened their enemies away.
According to historic records, the Changshan war drum had its beginnings early in the Warring States Period(475-221 BC), and was prevalent during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). It came on the verge of extinction at the end of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and was rejuvenated after the founding of the People’s Republic of China by local government’s support. Zhengding now boasts a total of 162 drum teams. With the performance scale and quality improved in recent years, the war drum's reputation and popularity as a folk art treasure has expanded quickly nationwide.
According to Zhang Ganglu, director of the cultural center in the county, the war drum performance teams boasts of members from a dozen to hundreds, playing traditional Chinese percussion instruments including drums, cymbals and gongs. In addition, there is also a dance performance to complement the drumming to create an overwhelming scene.