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Different from makeup of operas of other countries, facial makeup is a unique formative art of such Chinese operas as Peking Opera, Sichuan Opera and Kunqu Opera. By painting unique design, colors and patterns on the face of a performer, facial makeup showcases the role and personality of the performer in the opera by symbolic techniques.
The roles of Chinese operas encompass male role (sheng), female role (dan), painted role (jing) and clown (chou), each of which calls for different makeup patterns. The facial makeup of male and female roles is rather simple with slight cosmetics, but the facial makeup of the other two remains relatively complicated, that is, one facial makeup for one role, which is ever changing.
Facial makeup is a character-oriented makeup which can directly demonstrate the character, temperament, moral character, emotions and mentality of the figure. Through the makeup, the audience can easily see the judgment on the figure. For instance, a white face of Cao Cao indicates duplicity and a red face of Guan Yu rejects loyalty. Apart from character demonstration, facial makeup can also suggest various conditions of the figure. For example, “a crying face” of Xiang Yu implies his tragic ending; frowning Bao Zheng hints his concerns and worries; the monkey face of the Monkey King Sun Wukongmeans that he is originally a monkey.
Facial makeup has become part and parcel and an important feature of Chinese Operas as Chinese operas grow and thrive in the history.
Now, let’s draw a facial makeup of the Monkey King Sun Wukong.
Shaolin temple was built in 496 A.D. The 1982 hit film, “Shaolin Temple,” starring Jet Li, pushed this ancient temple from the secluded mountain forest onto the world stage and also closely connected the Shaolin Temple with Chinese Kungfu.
Confucius Institute Reporter Sun Ying, Zhou Xiaogeng 本刊记者 孙颖
Zhao Junming is not very tall but is quite sturdy. On seeing us, he said hello and then jumped onto the car. You don’t need to have the martial arts knowledge to feel his unique skills. During a conversation with him, we learned he had practiced Kungfu for 17 years. Suddenly we realized that we had already arrived in Dengfeng, where Shaolin Temple is located.
The temple was built in 496 A.D. during the reign of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty. It was named after its location – a luxuriant forest (pronounced “lin” in Chinese) on the Shaoshi Mountain. The 1982 hit film, “Shaolin Temple,” starring Jet Li, pushed this ancient temple from the secluded mountain forest onto the world stage and also closely connected the Shaolin Temple with Chinese Kungfu.
Many people develop their knowledge and love of Chinese Kungfu from this film. “Jet Li is my idol. It was because of his films that I have gradually learned about Kungfu,” said Zhao Junming. Many people, like Zhao, regard the Shaolin Temple as a symbol of Chinese martial arts.
In Dengfeng, you can feel the existence of martial arts almost everywhere. There are Kungfu costume and gear shops, and it seems that the shop owners themselves were good at Kungfu. “In Dengfeng alone, there are 50 or 60 martial arts schools,” said Zhao, who was a coach at one of those schools. His school has more than 1,000 coaches, like Zhao, and over 20,000 students.
During our journey to Shaolin Temple, we saw many students practicing skills on the rough playground. Tanned and sweating, every one of them looked strong and capable. As they exercised kicking and jumping, a cloud of dust arose.
“Every time I go back hometown, people ask me if I can defeat many bad guys on my own.” Zhao said, smiling, “I said no. Actually since I started practicing Kungfu, I have become quite calm and placid and I hate fighting.” To Zhao, only cultivating the mind and developing the character can one advance his skills. This also reflects the characteristics of Chinese Kungfu: temperance, modesty and reserve.
The Shaolin Temple attracts thousands of visitors from both China and abroad every day. Some Kungfu lovers even come here to learn the skills. Zhao said he is pleased that he has more and more foreign students. So far, he has taught Kungfu to 700 to 800 foreigners. So now, his schedule not only includes practice of Kungfu but also learning English. “I want to help more friends learn about Chinese Kungfu and fall in love with it,” he said.