China’s latest viral video stars: Dancing museum artifacts
Animated relics steal the spotlight on Douyin, also known as Tik Tok
If Night at the Museum was filmed in China, it might look like this.
The 2006 American comedy blockbuster saw exhibits at a New York museum come to life at night -- as an astonished night guard tries to keep things in order.
Now a new short video featuring less destructive (but equally animated) ancient artifacts is capturing a huge audience on Chinese social media.
Released by one of China’s most popular video apps for International Museum Day, the short clip from Douyin stars some of the nation’s most treasured relics, dancing like millennials.
The choreography rivals South Korea’s hottest boy bands, as terracotta warriors from the Shaanxi History Museum rap and dance away, oblivious to the weight of their heavy armor.
A tomb figurine from the Tang dynasty even does a viral social media challenge known in China as the ash-sweeping dance -- named because it looks like the dancers are trying to brush off imaginary dust from their shoulders.
And a carved human face on a Shang dynasty bronze cauldron performs what’s called the 98K electric eyes -- in which teenagers blink their eyes to the beat of a song called HandClap.
Launched in 2016, Douyin -- known as Tik Tok outside China -- is wildly popular among teens in Asia. It lets users create 15-second videos, which are published to the app’s endless social feed. It’s become so popular that it added an anti-addiction alarm to clamp down on binge-watching.
The video has been viewed more than 118 million times in a few days, according to state media. But reactions vary: While some praised it for raising public interest in Chinese history, others criticized it for being lowbrow. Some even called for Douyin to be banned.
Meanwhile one viewer learned something new: "This is the first time I realize how different the face of each terracotta warrior looks."