Known for its flower-drum performance, Fengyang is the birthplace of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. As a folk performance of singing and dancing in Fengyang County of Anhui Province, "Fengyang Flower Drum" has been passed down. In terms of its forms, "Fengyang Flower Drum" can be divided into Flower Drum Lantern, Flower Drum Play and Flower Drum Gong. Altogether the three are entitled "Fengyang Flower Drum", or "Three Flowers of Fengyang".
Fengyang Flower Drum is performed in couples. While one is beating a drum (a drum with two sticks), the other strikes a gong (a small copper gong). The two performers dance while singing, with accompaniment of the beat and gong interspersed between stages. Initially, it was usually a couple who performed together. Later for hundreds of years, the performing team has been composed by the mother and daughter, sisters, relatives and neighbors. Long narrative stories are usually performed in the street, at the village entrance, in a workshop or in a private living room. By the 1940s, Fengyang Flower Drum had been developed into a stage performance, namely, a collective dance comprising ten, twelve or an unfixed number of performers.
There are almost one hundred kinds of songs performed in Fengyang Flower Drum which boasts a long history. Fengyang Drum, Fengyang Flower Drum and Wang Sanjie Goes to the Fair are well-known both at home and abroad. As early as in the middle Ming Dynasty, Fengyang Flower Drum was prevailing in Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
Later after Fengyang Flower Drum was combined with traditional operas, it became extensively popular in China. During the reigns of Emperor Longqing and Emperor Wanli in the Ming Dynasty, Fengyang Flower Drum appeared in a romance written by Zhou Chaojun, which was entitled A Story of Red Plum Blossom. In the early Qing Dynasty, Fengyang Flower Drum was further modified and improved by opera artists. Ever since then, Fengyang Flower Drum has been spot in major operas all over the country. It has also been performed in the palace and on the screen. There are records made about it too. In one word, Fengyang Flower Drum has become an exquisite work of art among varied forms of folk art.