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Wuju opera: performance for everyone

2013-09-06 14:16:18



Children look carefully at the God of Wealth as he wears a smiling wooden mask while placing a big gold ingot on the table in the center of the stage. It is a traditional play performed before the real performance, which dates back to the Shang Dynasty (About 1600-1100 BC) and was part of a sacrificial ceremony. [Photo from Chinese Heritage]

Wuju opera makeup is similar to what is used for Peking opera, which allows the audience to tell the personality of each character. Red, yellow, white, black, purple, green and silver are the main colors used for facial designs to represent different characters. For instance, red stands for loyal, courageous and upright people; white is used for sinister and cunning officials; while gold and silver colors represent gods and ghosts.

Originally, performers wore wooden masks with colorful patterns rather than makeup. It was too cumbersome when performing and hard to show facial expression, so makeup became the preferred choice.

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