Pingshu is a Quyi art form of oral storytelling and it includes Pingshu that's popular in northern China and Pinghua in eastern China's Yangzhou. It developed into an independent art form in the early years of the Qing Dynasty (late 17thcentury). Though Pingshu is performed orally, artists in the early period mainly hopped from the trade of Changqu(melody singing) and this shows thatPingshu has a close relation with Changqu.
The Pingshu performer wore a gown and sat behind a table, with a folded fan and a gavel (serving as a prop to strike the table as a warning to the audience to be quiet or as a means of attracting attention in order to strengthen the effect of the performance, especially at the beginning or at the intervals). By the mid l920s, these props had all disappeared, with the performer appearing only in a standing position in a gown or any other kind of clothes.
Pingshu performers talk in Putonghua(standard Chinese, based on the Beijing dialect). This is the popular practice in north China and most of the northeast.The storytellers often added their own commentaries on the subjects and the characters. They also explained the origins of and material objects in the stories. So the audience, while watching their performances, was not only entertained, but also educated and enlightened.