On a cold winter’s night outside the ancient walled city of Pingyao in northern China, hundreds of people gather to watch an unusual theatrical production.
Eight women in traditional costume towel-dry six muscular and freshly-bathed men, before suddenly sinking their teeth into the men’s arms as they howl in pain.
“If you die, the teeth marks will guide your spirits home,” a narrator tells the audience.
This was how bodyguards were sent off to protect merchants in the Qing Dynasty, in a scene that has been brought to life by Chinese director Wang Chaoge in her interactive play, Another Glance at Pingyao.
The play is part of a series of theatrical performances created by local directors, often held at UNESCO World Heritage sites, aimed at rediscovering history and traditional culture. In many ways, the show symbolizes the city’s recent artistic renaissance.