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Peking Opera Make-up

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There is a traditional culture in China called “pattern of the make-up” which has thousand years history from the Chinese traditional art “Peking opera”. In the Tang Dynasties with emperor Xuanzong (721-755 A.D), who founded the Pear Garden (Liyuan, the early Peking opera), the first known group in China. The group mostly worked for the Emperors’ personal pleasure, but later it was also performed for the commonalty. (Jonas Daniel Vaughan, The Manners and Customs of the Chinese of the strait Settlements, early 1850s)

Drama actors on the stage outlined facial mask are used to help enhance the character of the characters, appearance, status, to achieve rich stage colour, beautify the stage effect. The main features of “pattern of the make-up” have the three points: Firstly, the beauty and ugly ingenious combination, it is characterized by the use of different colours of oil paintings, showing a different personality, whether it is beauty or ugly character.

Peking opera mask colours represent different character, for example, red represents loyalty, black represents integrity, but yellow represents the cruel, white represents the treacherous person. (Aaron Christopher Yap, Singaporean, 1872s), Ancestors use colour to express emotions, and combine these colours to draw the masks. As one of the Chinese traditional culture, it has been widely recognized both at home and abroad.

There are four different characters of Peking opera, respectively Sheng (male roles, pic 5), Dan (female roles, pic 4), Jing (roles with painted faces, pic 6) and Chou or Clown (a comic character) (Chinese Opera: Image and stories, Peter Lovrick, Hongkong).

Laosheng (middle age or old man), mostly impersonation positive personality character, sometimes wears moustache with red face make-up impersonation Guan Yu. Xiaosheng (young man) and Wusheng (men with martial skills), Jing (Wen Jing and Wu Jing), these all have painted face.

Wen Jing is a variety of colours outline the makeup of the mask as a prominent sign of the face, showing the personality temperament rough, wonderful, heroic figures. Wu Jing also has painted face but different with no mortuary skill (Wen), (Wu) is focusing on the martial skills same with (Wusheng). However, the male clown (Chou) has (Wen Chou) and (Wu chou). These characters are put the make-up between the nose and eyes, likes funny and the make-up mostly is white colour also means treacherous people. Wuchou is also focusing on the martial and little funny skills on the stage.

The Peking opera has different type’s make-up and pattern, including Rubbing, Wiping and Hooking face.

Rubbing face (Roulian) is the oldest make-up of Peking Opera, it is focusing on different personal character. Rubbing face, the basic form of rubbing face is the whole face, hook method as” rubbing “, used to exaggerate the skin colour, without using any skills or other forms, the entire makeup makes the character look powerful, look heavy. Use lines to accentuate people’s eyes, nose and eyebrows. Make character makeup more distinctive. All colours are rubbed directly on the face with fingers. The makeup is very real.

The Wiping face is a more distinctive way of making up Peking Opera, with white powder on the face to cover the original face, and then use a pen dipped colors The details of the nose and face are sketched out one by one, for this color of make-up is usually a person who is treacherous and does not dare to show his true face. They use white to cover their original features.

Furthermore, the Hooking face is different between Rubbing and Wiping face. In contrast to the other two types of make-up, the character needs to clear the face first, then use the pen to draw the eyebrows directly on the face, eyes and nose for positioning, and then use the to remove the excess hair to make up, and then use the tape to raise the eye angle to make the eyes bigger, and finally wear the accessories. The color of the outline is many, usually decorated with gold.

Crooked face is a special makeup, it using asymmetric approach highlights the characters, sometimes expresses the characters ugly but kind-hearted but sometimes said in character and the extremely cruel and merciless. Different faces are using same technique, the direct use of a brush dipped in paint with the features of the face line, but all the features are distorted asymmetric, more asymmetric said this character is bad.

In Peking opera, the difference in color of face is that the character and personality of the characters that it symbolizes are called dominant colors. The effects of each color is different , the founders using red , blue , white , purple , gold , black and silver , to express each role ‘ s feelings and characters , each color can highlight the character of the actors, the good or bad , the good and evil.

The make-up is rich in color, not just because it looks good, it also expresses emotion, people use different faces to express different personalities, red represents bravery, blue represents selflessness and black represents integrity. They all express the same meaning on different levels, bravery and integrity, but use different colors to express these same characters. The white is meaning treachery; green is irritability and yellow is stability.

They reflect three completely different characters; can see that these colors are very interesting, when people looking at these faces, people can easily identify the character of the character from the color of each face. The make-up combines a variety of colors, making different effects and bringing different performances to the audience.

There are many colors in Peking opera, whatever the color of clothes or on the make-up. People use different colors to create bad or good character and special point.

There are nine different colors in Peking opera, the nine colors combine with each other, and a new feature has emerged. Red is the color meaning warm and happiness. In ancient times, people in China did not painted red, because red is believed to expel evil. In the traditional culture, Chinese red is the color of fire. People believe red is hope. Also, the red represents love.

In Peking Opera, red stands for bravery and narrow sense, just like Guan Yu in the three Kingdoms, the makeup is red. But on the other hand, red has ironic significance, representing the false good people. Black, which represents calm and sophistication, represents water in the north as well as in ancient China. In Kenya’s Marseilles person mind, the black represents the overcast sky, rainy season arrives, therefore symbolic prosperity and life. Also the black in the fashion world represents a stable and dignified style. In Peking Opera, black refers to fortitude, bravery and wisdom. Just like Bao Gong with black makeup, it is honest and selfless, but sometimes black refers to ugly people or ghosts. White stands for purity, peace and respect. White also brings cold and severe feelings. In ancient China, white represented treacherous and sinister color. In western culture white symbolizes a white wedding dress and a pure heart, but some people believe that white is a bad color, it represents death. White also has a sense of science and technology, a very high feeling. In the Peking Opera, white shows the character of the sinister and false, like Cao Cao, in the Three Kingdoms, and has succeeded in different means.

Overall, Beijing opera types of facial makeup in operas of color painting methods, basically divided into three categories: rub face, Wiping face, Hooking face and crooked face. Types of facial makeup in operas initial role is exaggerated her role with striking places and face the veins, using exaggerated by the performance of dramatis personae of personality, psychological and physiological characteristics, and using this to the entire drama circumstances, but Later types of facial makeup in operas by Kan to complex, from rough to the small, from shallow to deep, itself becoming a nation of characteristics, to the facial expression means for the pictorial arts.

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