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Peking Opera, Historical Treasure of China

History of Peking Opera
Peking Opera was founded in 1790 and till now, in total it has a history of 200 years. It begins when the Four Great Anhui Troupes went to Beijing to perform for the Imperial Court. The first Anhui Opera performance was held in Beijing to celebrate the Emperor's birthday. Later, some other Anhui Opera troupes went on to perform in Beijing. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Peking Opera finally formed and become the biggest of all operas in China. Today, Peking Opera is considered as one of Chinese traditional culture, a cultural treasure of China.

Introduction about Peking Opera
Not only popular in China, Peking Opera is also become one of the three main theatrical systems in the world. It has also become the best known and most popular variety of Chinese Opera. As the traditional Chinese theatre, it combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics to represent a story or depict different characters and their feelings of gladness, anger, sorrow, happiness, surprise, fear and sadness.
In total, there are four main roles in Peking Opera include sheng (male), dan (young female), jing (painted face, male) and chou (clown, male or female). Peking Opera have various graceful, magnificent, elegant and bright costumes. Because its costumes, variety of facial expressions, facial masks and martial arts movements, that mostly attracts Western audiences.

Peking Opera Facial Masks
Peking Opera facial masks are rich, showing various characters and remarkable images. In addition, the types of facial make-up, especially concerning the color are the most particular art in Peking Opera. Its facial masks can symbolize the personalities, characteristics, and fates of the roles. The hero type characters are normally painted in relatively simple colors, whereas enemy, bandits and rebels have more complicated designs of facial masks.
The color of the paint on the actors face also will gives you a clue to his or her character. For example, red symbolize loyalty and general goodness, black symbolize wisdom and bravery, gold and silver represent supernatural, yellow and white represent cunning and treachery, whereas green and blue symbolizes pride, cruelty or lack of self control.

The Grand Master of Peking Opera
In 1919, since Mei Lanfang visited Japan, Peking Opera has become more popular among people all over the world. He was the first artist to introduce Peking Opera to an overseas audience, winning international recognition across the globe. He even gave birth to "The Mei Lanfang School".
Mei began his career at the age of eight, he was born into a family of Peking Opera performers. During his 50-year acting career Mei starred in over 100 roles, which included emperors concubines, daughters of noble families, female generals and goddesses. In his performances, Mei demonstrated different characters and personalities of these women, revolutionized both stage makeup and costumes and even enriched the characters gestures, expressions and poses.