Kunqu Opera ranks among the most splendid and miraculous cultural art forms created by the Chinese people in their long history. Ever since it came into being at the district of Kunshan near Suzhou in the mid-14th century, Kunqu has been artistically refined over a period of 200 years and has stood out prominently among the various competing schools of opera in China for its "delicate tunes and elegant melodies". With Suzhou as its base, Kunqu Opera soon became fashionable both at home and aboard, forming, for hundreds of years, the spectacular scene of "all operas taking Kunqu as their ancestor".
After China entered the modern age, Kunqu Opera underwent a gradual decline from its zenith, due to the dramatic changes in Chinese society. As time goes by, Kunqu Opera lost favor with a large part of its audiences, and its popularity and social influence diminished year after year. Fortunately, Kunqu Opera was not ousted form the stage of history. It survived and remained to be the most influential traditional opera owing to the profound foundation it had laid in the areas of script writing, performing art and theoretical research. In fact, other schools of Chinese opera all take Kunqu Opera as the master and ancestor and benefit a lot from it. There is no denying that Kunqu Opera embodies the highest artistic achievements that the traditional Chinese drama has ever accomplished and retains a unique position in the history of the world culture. Kunqu Opera was honored by UNESCO as one of 19 outstanding cultural forms of expression from different regions of the “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in May 2001. And Kunqu Opera was one of the four items that won full votes by a panel of 18 international experts.