Let’s draw a facial makeup of the Monkey King Sun Wukong. Facial makeup is a unique formative art of Chinese operas. Facial makeup showcases the role and personality of the performer.
Listen to the audio of this report narrated in Mandarin Chinese.
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 Wukong means 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.
Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Magazine 22. Volume 5. September 2012.
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