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Beijing Opera masks jīng jù li ǎ n pú History and symbolic meanings behind colours… By Ms Yu.

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Presentation on theme: "Beijing Opera masks jīng jù li ǎ n pú History and symbolic meanings behind colours… By Ms Yu."— Presentation transcript:

1 Beijing Opera masks jīng jù li ǎ n pú History and symbolic meanings behind colours… By Ms Yu

2 Chinese opera has a history dating some 2,000 years. There are 317 types of opera, of which Beijing Opera or Peking opera is the most important and well-known. The practitioner of Peking opera is a master athlete -- he must be in top physical shape to accommodate the rigors of this performance art. Most performers begin their training from childhood. A well-known example is Kungfu star Jacky Chan, who started training in Peking opera as a child. Performers wear extensive makeup; their whole faces are painted in bright colours. Colourful masks, inspired from ancient ceremonies and religious symbols, are done by the actors. The colour of each character's face is significant as it represents the character's personality and fate.

3 In Mandarin, we call it j ī ng jù It literally means Beijing Opera. Peking Opera (evolved from Kunqu Opera, an even more ancient type of drama), is the most popular and influential opera form. It took shape in the early 19th century in Beijing and combines singing, music, chanting, dancing and martial arts. In over 200 years, Peking Opera has developed over a thousand plays of high artistic value, as well as sets of musical modes and stylized performance movements.

4 j ī ng jù li ǎ n pú The facial makeups date a long time back to the Song ( ) and Yuan ( ) dynasties at least. Simple patterns of painted faces are found in tomb murals of that age. During the Ming Dynasty ( ), improvements were made in the skills of drawing and in preparing the paints, leading to the whole set of colourful facial patterns that we see in today's j ī ng jù (Beijing Opera).

5 First of all, you would want to know what the implications are of the various colourful patterns of the opera masks (facial makeup). Every colour in the facial patterns of opera masks, lends itself effectively to the expression of a definite trait in the characters personality. hóng sè When used as a main colour, h ē i sè When used as the chief colour, symbolizes loyalty, faithfulness and courage. symbolizes firmness and honesty. The black face indicates either a rough and bold character or an impartial and selfless personality.

6 j ī ng jù li ǎ n pú The main colour in a facial makeup symbolizes the disposition of the character. Gold j ī n sè and silver yín sè colours are usually used for gods and spirits. huáng sè Yellow signifies fierceness, ambition and cool-headedness.

7 j ī ng jù li ǎ n pú The main colour in a facial makeup symbolizes the disposition of the character. Purple Colour z ǐ sè Purple stands for uprightness, sophistication and cool- headedness). The reddish purple face likewise shows a just and noble character, for instance, Hou Yi with a purple three-tile face was a grain officer versed in black magic in the opera " Green Dragon Pass. Blue Colour lán sè Blue represents staunchness, fierceness and astuteness. Shown is Xiahou Dun with a blue pointed three-tile face, Cao Cao's most trusted general in the opera Bowang Slope."

8 Green Colour l ǜ sè A green face tells the audience that the character is impulsive and violent and depicts surly stubbornness, impetuosity and a total lack of self-restraint. Zheng Wun with a green pointed three-tile face plays a general in the opera "Green Dragon Ps.

9 White Colour bái sè White suggests sinisterness, treacherousness, suspiciousness and craftiness. Commonly seen on the stage is the white face for the powerful villain. It highlights all that is bad in human nature: cunning, craftiness, and treachery. Typical characters are Cao Cao, powerful and cruel prime minister in the time of the Three Kingdoms, and Qin Hui, treacherous Song Dynasty prime minister who put the national hero Yue Fei to death. Cao cao with a watery white face is the leading character in the opera "Meeting of the Elite."

10 xi ǎ o hu ā lián Petty Painted Face xi ǎ o hu ā lián For the clowns of traditional drama, there is a special makeup called xiaohualian (the petty painted face), i.e., a small patch of chalk on and around the nose to show a mean and secretive character, such as Jiang Gan of the Three Kingdoms who fawned upon Cao Cao. It is also occasionally painted on a young page or an ordinary workingman, often to enhance his wit, humor or jesting and to enliven up the performance.

11 More detailed information on Beijing Opera Masks can be found on many websites…


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