Archive for January, 2012

Happy Lunar New Year! Here are the videos I promised.

The Spring Festival Chinese Opera Gala of CCTV4 was a severely edited version, however, two excerpts appear only in this shorter edition, namely Chen Shaoyun’s costumeless Chasing Han Xin and Zhu Qiang’s Ganlu Temple. Both performers are my huge favorites, so I’m really grateful to the editor.
I converted the video to mp4 format with Handbrake, using the deinterlacing filter. Of course the original files are much better, but huge-ish (7GB) and best viewed on TV.

I downloaded the full version from the CNTV site, it comes in five parts. The screenshots below show the quality, I think it’s not bad. Five hours total, so don’t forget to pile up dumplings and soft drinks on your TV table if you’re adventurous enough to watch it in one go.

There are two bonus clips too, from the CCTV Spring Festival Gala: a performance by amateur jingju artists, including the adorable kid Duoduo (Li Peize), and a clip titled “New Drunken Concubine” – can you believe this elegant Guifei is actually a handsome boy?


CCTV4 Spring Festival Chinese Opera Gala highlights edition part1
CCTV4 Spring Festival Chinese Opera Gala highlights edition part2
(mp4, 720×576)

CCTV Spring Festival Chinese Opera Gala full version
(rar, 480×360)

CCTV Spring Festival Gala amateur performers’ scene
《戏迷一家亲》 “Theater fans are one big family”
– Sanjiadian – Gao Changzhi (高长志)
– Mu Guiying Takes Command – Zhang Jie (张杰)
– Xu Ce Runs to the City Walls – Li Peize (李沛泽)
– Beheading Chen Shimei – Li Zelin (李泽林)
(VOB, 720×576)

Bonus clip
《新贵妃醉酒》Xin Guifei Zuijiu (New Drunken Concubine) – Li Yugang (李玉刚)
(VOB, 720×576)

I’m an unconditional Duoduo fan, that’s just natural he was my favorite from the show. I’m daring to say he grabbed the spirit of this character more firmly than some of the adult performers, what’s more, he’s a bit different every time, not just repeating the same performance as a robot. He appears in both the Chinese Opera Gala and the “plain” Gala, unfortunately the cameraman of the latter had a keen sense to zoom out or show the audience when a close-up of the kid was needed.
Li Zelin as underage Judge Bao was also very cute.

Duoduo as Xu Ce

Yuan Huiqin chose her excerpt wisely: the role of an armored elderly female warrior suits her much better than the miserable old lady of Golden Tortoise Fishing what she performed at the Shanghai Spring Festival concert this week. She’s not that typical old and slow-moving laodan…

I was happy that Dong Yuanyuan, my favorite Mei qingyi had the opportunity to show us her Drunken Concubine, and Li Shengsu was popularizing Female Generals of the Yangs instead.

The Red Cliff trio was excellent – and surprise of surprises, this time I liked Zhang Jianfeng more than Jin Xiquan.

Maybe Zhao Xiujun isn’t the most beautiful Zhang school qingyi of all times, and not as grandiose as Wang Rongrong, but I still like her artistic approach.

Zhao Xiujun

I don’t listen to Henan opera very often, but Li Shujian is mind-blowing, seemingly he doesn’t have to make extraordinary efforts to sing like that. I bet he will get a third Plum Blossom Award one time.

I already elaborated on in my own blog that something isn’t right about Yu Kuizhi nowadays… at least I feel so. Maybe his appointment as vice-president is too much of a burden, or he simply reached his limits, I don’t know. This time he came with an excerpt from Shang Tian Tai – there are plays he’s more an expert of, moreover, where is that sparkle in the eyes? There was a point when I thought he will fall asleep. I’m really, really disappointed, and sad as well.

Yan (Jupeng) school laosheng Chen Shengjie represents a style you don’t hear often, and he’s really good. His Zhuge Liang was so… Zhuge Liang-ish. I mean this is exactly how I imagine someone whose head is full of stratagems and serious thoughts.

Chen Shengjie

Li Baochun definitely has his own style, which couldn’t sweep me off my feet like his father’s did, but yet he’s fun to watch and Chang Qiuyue is one of my preferences – this duet was lovely.

Li Fengjie and Emperor Zhengde – men never change. Women never change.

Highlight of the show: Li Jun finally got rid of his metal kitchen scrubber-like hair that was a laughingstock of the public for way too long. Actually for the sake of a new play (also featuring Xiong Mingxia, I’ll upload it later), but the change is welcome.

And many more, many more. Enjoy!

Tracklist (highlights edition):

  • 开场舞蹈《龙腾盛世》
    Opening dance stage “Flourishing Age of the Dragon”
  • 京剧《珠帘寨》选段 表演:马 力、蓝天、傅希如
    jingju Pearl Screen Fort (Ma Li, Lan Tian, Fu Xiru)
  • 京剧《花田错》选段 表演:张佳春、唐禾香
    jingju Mistake at the Flower Field (Zhang Guichun, Tang Hexiang)
  • 豫剧《大登殿》选段 表演:李树建
    Henan opera The Great Enthronement (Li Shujian)
  • 评剧《花为媒》选段 表演:曾昭娟
    pingju Hua Wei Mei (Zeng Zhaojuan)
  • 河北梆子《穆桂英挂帅》选段 表演:许荷英
    Hebei bangzi Mu Guiying Takes Command (Xu Heying)
  • 相声《送年戏》 表演:何云伟、李菁
    comic sketch introducing different folk singing styles (He Yunwei, Li Jing)
  • 京剧《贵妃醉酒》选段 表演:董圆圆
    jingju The Drunken Concubine (Dong Yuanyuan)
  • 京剧《对花枪》选段 表演:袁慧琴
    jingju The Matching Spears (Yuan Huiqin)
  • 京剧《孙安动本》选段 表演:倪茂才
    jingju Sun An Dong Ben (Ni Maocai)
  • 京剧《大登殿》选段 表演:迟小秋
    jingju The Great Enthronement (Chi Xiaoqiu)
  • 京剧《上天台》选段 表演:于魁智
    jingju Ascending the Heavenly Altar (Yu Kuizhi)
  • 川剧《春夜喜雨》选段 表演:陈巧茹
    Sichuan opera Spring Night Welcome Rain (Chen Qiaoru)
  • 越剧《何文秀》选段 表演:萧雅
    Shaoxing opera He Wenxiu (Xiao Ya)
  • 黄梅戏《满山杜鹃》选段 表演:吴琼
    Huangmei opera Cuckoo of Manshan (Wu Qiong)
  • 京剧《赤壁》选段 表演:王越、张建峰、金喜全
    jingju Red Cliff (Wang Yue, Zhang Jianfeng, Jin Xiquan)
  • 京剧《沙桥饯别》选段 表演:王珮瑜
    jingju Farewell Dinner at Sandy Bridge (Wang Peiyu)
  • 京剧《甘露寺》选段 表演:朱强
    jingju Ganlu Temple (Zhu Qiang)
  • 京剧《太真外传》选段 表演:史依弘
    jingju Unofficial Biography of Taizhen (Shi Yihong)
  • 京剧《姚期》选段 表演:孟广禄
    jingju Yao Qi (Meng Guanglu)
  • 京剧《捉放曹》选段 表演:杨乃彭
    jingju Capturing and Releasing Cao Cao (Yang Naipeng)
  • 京剧《萧何月下追韩信》选段 表演:陈少云
    jingju Xiao He Chasing Han Xin Under the Moonlight (Chen Shaoyun)
  • 高甲戏《金龙焕彩》选段 表演:福建晋江高甲戏剧院
    Gaojia opera Brilliant Golden Dragon (Jinjiang (Fujian) Gaojia Opera Troupe)
  • 京歌《难忘今宵》 表演:丁晓君、张馨月、唐禾香、张佳春、吴昊颐、王润菁
    Beijing opera song This Night is Unforgettable (Ding Xiaojun, Zhang Xinyue, Tang Hexiang, Zhang Jiachun, Wu Haoyi, Wang Runjing

Tracklist (full edition):

  • 开场舞蹈《龙腾盛世》
    Opening dance stage “Flourishing Age of the Dragon”
  • 京剧《珠帘寨》选段 表演:马 力、蓝天、傅希如
    jingju Pearl Screen Fort (Ma Li, Lan Tian, Fu Xiru)
  • 京剧《花田错》选段 表演:张佳春、唐禾香
    jingju Mistake at the Flower Field (Zhang Guichun, Tang Hexiang)
  • 京剧《战北原》选段 表演:陈圣杰
    jingju Battle of Bei Yuan (Chen Shengjie)
  • 京剧《将相和》选段 表演:谭正岩、方旭
    jingju The Minister and The General Reconcile (Tan Zhengyan, Fang Xu)
  • 京剧《诗文会》选段 表演:赵秀君
    jingju Meeting by Poetry (Zhao Xiujun)
  • 京剧《沙桥饯别》选段 表演:王珮瑜
    jingju Farewell Dinner at Sandy Bridge (Wang Peiyu)
  • 豫剧《大登殿》选段 表演:李树建
    Henan opera The Great Enthronement (Li Shujian)
  • 评剧《花为媒》选段 表演:曾昭娟
    pingju Hua Wei Mei (Zeng Zhaojuan)
  • 1河北梆子《穆桂英挂帅》选段 表演:许荷英
    Hebei bangzi Mu Guiying Takes Command (Xu Heying)
  • 相声《送年戏》 表演:何云伟、李菁
    comic sketch (He Yunwei, Li Jing)
  • 京剧《贵妃醉酒》选段 表演:董圆圆
    jingju The Drunken Concubine (Dong Yuanyuan)
  • 京剧《对花枪》选段 表演:袁慧琴
    jingju The Matching Spears (Yuan Huiqin)
  • 京剧《孙安动本》选段 表演:倪茂才
    jingju Sun An Dong Ben (Ni Maocai)
  • 京剧《大登殿》选段 表演:迟小秋
    jingju The Great Enthronement (Chi Xiaoqiu)
  • 京剧《坐寨》选段 表演:杨赤
    jingju Sitting in the Camp (Yang Chi)
  • 京剧《金水桥》选段 表演:张艳玲
    jingju Golden Water Bridge (Zhang Yanling)
  • 戏曲小品《真假包龙图》  表演:朱世慧、王嘉庆、李泽琳、王越
    Chinese Opera skit Bao Zheng Examines the Dragon Image (Zhu Shihui, Wang Jiaqing, Li Zelin, Wang Yue)
  • 高甲戏《金龙焕彩》选段 表演:福建晋江高甲戏剧院
    Gaojia opera Brilliant Golden Dragon (Jinjiang (Fujian) Gaojia Opera Troupe)
  • 越剧《何文秀》选段 表演:萧雅
    Shaoxing opera He Wenxiu (Xiao Ya)
  • 黄梅戏《满山杜鹃》选段 表演:吴琼
    Huangmei opera Cuckoo of Manshan (Wu Qiong)
  • 昆曲《红楼梦•宝黛初见》选段 表演:邵天帅、施夏明、朱冰贞、翁佳慧
    kunqu Dream of Red Mansions – The First Meeting (Shao Tianshuai, Shi Xiaming, Zhu Bingzhen, Weng Jiahui)
  • 京剧《梅龙镇》选段 表演:李宝春(中国台湾)、常秋月
    jingju Meilong Village (Li Baochun, Chang Qiuyue)
  • 京剧《武家坡》选段 表演:谭孝曾、魏海敏(中国台湾)
    jingju Wujiapo (Tan Xiaozeng, Wei Haimin)
  • 京剧《孟母三迁》选段 表演:吴汝俊
    jingju Mencius’ Mother Relocates Three Times (Wu Rujun)
  • 少儿京剧联唱
    kiddy jingju:
    – 京剧《野猪林》选段 表演:姜舒源
    jingju Wildboar Forest (Jiang Shuyuan)
    – 京剧《穆桂英挂帅》选段 表演:赵跃然
    jingju Mu Guiying Takes Command (Zhao Yueran)
    – 京剧《天女散花》选段 表演:王萌
    jingju Heavenly Maiden Showering Flowers (Wang Meng)
    – 京剧《徐策跑城》选段 表演:李佩泽
    jingju Xu Ce Runs to the City Walls (Li Peize)
  • 戏曲小品《龙妈招亲》 表演:徐孟珂、金不换、威廉、玛利亚等
    Chinese Opera skit Mother Dragon Invites the Groom (Xu Mengke, Jin Buhuan, William, Mary etc.)
  • 京剧《龙凤呈祥》选段 表演:吕 洋 、吴昊颐、张馨月
    jingju Harmony Through a Royal Marriage (Lü Yang, Wu Haoyi, Zhang Xinyue)
  • 京剧《草船借箭》选段 表演:陈少云、朱强
    jingju Boating to Borrow Arrows (Chen Shaoyun, Zhu Qiang)
  • 京剧《捉放曹》选段 表演:杨乃彭
    jingju Capturing and Releasing Cao Cao (Yang Naipeng)
  • 京剧《赤壁》选段 表演:王越、张建峰、金喜全
    jingju Red Cliff (Wang Yue, Zhang Jianfeng, Jin Xiquan)
  • 京剧《太真外传》选段 表演:史依弘
    jingju Unofficial Biography of Taizhen (Shi Yihong)
  • 京剧《洪洋洞》选段 表演:张克
    jingju Hongyang Cave (Zhang Ke)
  • 京剧《八珍汤》选段 表演:赵葆秀、翟墨、黄丽珠
    jingju Eight Treasure Decoction (Zhao Baoxiu, Zhai Mo, Huang Lizhu)
  • 京剧《双投唐》选段 表演:安 平、张建峰
    jingju Shuang Tou Tang (An Ping, Zhang Jianfeng)
  • 京剧《三家店》选段 表演:耿其昌
    jingju Sanjia Inn (Geng Qichang)
  • 京剧《望江亭》选段 表演:王蓉蓉
    jingju Riverside Pavilion (Wang Rongrong)
  • 京剧《姚期》选段 表演:孟广禄
    jingju Yao Qi (Meng Guanglu)
  • 京剧《汉苏武》选段 表演:张建国、郭霄
    jingju Han Su Wu (Zhang Jianguo, Guo Xiao)
  • 京剧《赤壁》选段 表演:李宏图、窦晓璇
    jingju Red Cliff (Li Hongtu, Dou Xiaoxuan)
  • 京剧《下鲁城》选段 表演:杜镇杰
    jingju Battle of Lucheng (Du Zhenjie)
  • 京剧《大漠昭君》选段 表演:姜亦姗
    jingju Zhaojun of the Desert (Jiang Yishan)
  • 川剧《春夜喜雨》选段 表演:陈巧茹
    Sichuan opera Spring Night Welcome Rain (Chen Qiaoru)
  • 秦腔《彩楼配》选段 表演:李军梅
    Qinqiang Match Made at the Colorful Tower (Li Junmei)
  • 沪剧《庵堂相会》选段 表演:钱思剑
    Shanghai opera Meeting in the Nunnery (Qian Sijian)
  • 二人台《挂红灯》选段 表演:许美珍、蒙吉珍
    Inner Mongolian folk duet Watching the Lanterns (Xu Meizhen, Meng Jizhen)
  • 相声《学唱现代戏》 表演:陈印泉、侯振鹏
    comic sketch Let’s Learn to Sing Modern Opera (Chen Yinquan, Hou Zhenpeng)
  • 京剧《黛诺》选段 表演:李维康
    jingju Dai Nuo (Li Weikang)
  • 京剧《杜鹃山》选段 表演:王润菁
    jingju Cuckoo Mountain (Wang Runjing)
  • 京剧《红色娘子军》选段  表演:丁晓君
    jingju Red Detachment of Women (Ding Xiaojun)
  • 戏曲小品《五帅闯西天》 表演:宋宁、谢楠、魏嘉艺、杨松、何军、大牛(英国)
    Chinese Opera skit Five Generals Take the Western Paradise (Song Ning, Xie Nan, Wei Jiayi, Yang Song, He Jun, Daniel (UK))
  • 京剧《坐宫》选段 表演:李军、林林
    jingju Sitting in the Palace (Li Jun, Lin Lin)
  • 京剧《凤还巢》选段 表演:包飞、兰海皎
    jingju The Phoenix Returns to the Nest (Bao Fei, Lan Haijiao)
  • 京剧《状元媒》选段 表演:薛亚萍
    jingju Top Scholar as Matchmaker (Xue Yaping)
  • 京剧《锁麟囊》选段 表演:李佩红
    The Unicorn Purse (Li Peihong)
  • 京剧《杨门女将》选段 表演:李胜素
    jingju Female Generals of the Yangs (Li Shengsu)
  • 京剧《上天台》选段 表演:于魁智
    jingju Ascending the Heavenly Altar (Yu Kuizhi)
  • 京剧武戏集锦  表演:阎虹羽、冯蕴、杨亚男等
    Jingju wuxi Best Of (Yan Hongyu, Feng Yun, Yang Yanan etc.)
  • 京歌《难忘今宵》 表演:丁晓君、张馨月、唐禾香、张佳春、吴昊颐、王润菁
    Beijing opera song This Night is Unforgettable (Ding Xiaojun, Zhang Xinyue, Tang Hexiang, Zhang Jiachun, Wu Haoyi, Wang Runjing)


There’s an anecdote in Beijing Opera circles about Mei Lanfang. Once he mentioned to one of his disciples, Yan Huizhu (言慧珠), how suitable the role of Esmeralda would be for her. However, Yan Huizhu never had the opportunity to rehearse The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and Esmeralda turned into a long-cherished dream-role of Mei school followers.

Yielding under the constant pressure from high-profile Mei school qingyi Shi Yihong, a young dramatist, Feng Gang (冯钢) finally adapted the famous novel to a Bejing Opera, titled Notre Dame. Victor Hugo’s character Esmeralda appears in the jingju version as Aiya, portrayed by Shi Yihong, of course.
Quasimodo’s name was changed to Chounu (lit. “ugly slave”), and promising young actor Dong Hongsong, who not so long ago was honored with Shanghai’s Foundation for Talents of Literature and Art Award, got the opportunity to play the role.

No traditional jingju undergarment needed
Photo: 狠老虎不喂

As hopeless procrastinator I haven’t finished this post until now, but I don’t mind it at all, I tell you why.

The first version of this play I saw was a 2010 staging that Bertrand sent to me several months ago. He knew well I’ll be very enthusiastic, because the gullible and lecherous Tian Hao is played by my idol, Shanghai’s leading xiaosheng Jin Xiquan. For a change, in the video Tian Hao is laosheng role, so Jin Xiquan uses his normal voice.

In the meantime I downloaded another edition of this play, titled 《情殇钟楼》, Short Lived Love of the Bell Tower, performed by the same cast during the 6th China Peking Opera Art Festival a few months ago. (You can find several great pictures of this particular show here.) In this other version Tian Hao is xiaosheng role, so this time you won’t escape Jin Xiquan’s incredible falsetto! *evil laugh*

However, you surely will like Dong Hongsong in both editions! In the first version his make-up is more life-like, in the second version he wears a typical jingju face paint:

Photo: 行者的镜界

And just to show you how lovely Dong Hongsong looks without Quasimodo make-up, here he is with gingerbread-man pillow:

Photo: 狠老虎不喂

Though disguised as an unattractive person, Dong Hongsong’s innocent face perfectly reflects Chounu’s inner qualities. Ugly outside, beautiful inside. Contrary, Tian Hao is good-looking and sweet-talking, but fully rotten inside. Jin Xiquan admitted that it wasn’t really a carnival to keep that cunning smile on his face all along, and play this “bad, no, very bad” character.

The story follows Victor Hugo’s novel, of course there are a few differences, for example Aiya isn’t hanged at the end, but looses her life during the battle between the outlaws and Tian Hao’s forces.

Shi Yihong excels in martial action, we could see her skills lately in Female Generals of the Yang Family and this interesting Tale of the White Snake edition too, I think these lively and action-packed roles go well with her shiny and optimistic personality.

I don’t know much about Fan Yongliang, but he’s undoubtedly a versatile person. He learned Yang school laosheng role previously, later accepted Zhang Xuejin as master and learned Ma school art, also was member of the 2008-2009 Traditional Art of Zhou Xinfang research and study class. I’ve seen him in two other roles previously, once in a Ma-classic, Si Jinshi (Four Successful Palace Graduates) and once together with Chen Shaoyun in a Qi school play, Wulong Yuan (Black Dragon Courtyard), but I admit frankly that I didn’t really pay attention. I will correct this in the near future and report back.

Fan Yongliang in the role of the evil archdeacon

Tian Hao, for obvious reasons, doesn’t pay attention. Big mistake.

京剧《圣母院》 Shengmu Yuan (Notre Dame)

Click here to download the video.

Length: 1:57:32 File size: 586MB, 720×448 Extension: MKV
Shanghai Grand Theater, 2010-06-21

京剧《情殇钟楼》 Qing Shang Zhonglou (Love of the Bell Tower)

Download videos: Part1 | Part2

Length: 0:58:53, 01:07:24 File size: 360MB, 413MB; 480×360 Extension: MP4
Luojiashan Theatre, Wuhan, 2011-11-13


Aiya (Esmeralda): Shi Yihong (史依弘)
Chounu (Quasimodo): Dong Hongsong (董洪松)
Archdeacon Luo (Frollo): Fan Yongliang (范永亮)
Tian Hao (Captain Phoebus): Jin Xiquan (金喜全)
King of the Beggars (Clopin): Qi Baoyu (齐宝玉)
Judge: Ren Guangping (任广平)
Old innkeeper lady: Yu Wei (虞伟)
The little man: Li Jianpu (李建普)

Rehearsal photos:

“Yihong, you gained weight!”

Note Jin Xiquan’s fashionable “Princess” T-shirt… I think I saw that before on Xiong Mingxia (his wife).

Parental guidance needed.

Dress rehearsal. Aren’t those little gypsy drums adorable?
Photos:  蕙蕙83


Costumes of Beijing Opera (行头·xíngtou)

Navigation: [Main costumes] · [+ pictures] · [Clothes] · [+ pictures] · [Accessories 1] · [Accessories 2]

Headwear (盔头·kuītou)

You can loosely group these in four categories, naming is not consequent.

Of course I couldn’t list each and every headdress and accessory, you will meet reformed and custom versions, Ming and Qing dynasty designs, new creations as you watch Beijing Opera, but the article gives a fair overview I guess.

Main parts, attachments:

  • ézĭ(额子); dàézĭ(大额子)- diadem; big diadem Pic A
  • fùmătào(驸马套)- headdress attached to the basic black hat of the Emperor’s son-in-law Pic B
  • língzĭ(翎子)- a pair of long pheasant tail feathers Pic C
  • dōuzĭtóu(都子头)- children’s little crown Pic D
  • dàsuì(大穗)- a pair of long, big tassels hanging on both sides of the headdress (picture shows the Emperor’s mourning crown) Pic E
  • húwĕi(狐尾)- a pair of long, white, furry foxtails attached to the headdress; for non-Han characters Pic F
  • cháotiānchì(朝天翅)- two little wings on the back of the headdress Pic G
  • piāodài(飘带)- two streamers on the back of the headdress Pic H
  • miànpái(面牌)- forehead decoration with a pompom Pic I
  • chăndāotóu(铲刀头)- a small shovel-shaped forehead decoration Pic J 
  • cígūyè(茨菰叶)- a small arrowhead-shaped forehead decoration Pic K
  • nán dàixiào(男戴孝)- male mourning apparel; white silk scarf tied on the headdress Pic L
  • xiàojīn(孝巾)- long, silk head scarf of mourning women Pic M
  • húnpà(魂帕)- lit. “spirit wrap”; black gauze to indicate the character is a ghost, or is in his spirit form Pic N
  • guǐhúnzi(鬼魂子)- ghost fringe; same purpose as above, numerous white strips of paper attached to the head on both sides Pic O
Pic A Pic B Pic C
Pic D Pic E Pic F
Pic G Pic H Pic I
Pic J Pic K Pic L
Pic M Pic N Pic O

Female version mianpai and ciguye (Pic I, K)

Emperor’s son-in-law back view: shamao, fumatao, lingzi, wings and foxtails

Anything that is rúyì (如意), lit. “as you like it”, resembles the shape of a lingzhi mushroom and Chinese-style clouds.
Rúyìguān (如意冠), rúyìtóu (如意头) on the left, rúyìchì (如意翅) (hard and soft wings) on the right


  •  Crowns(冠·guān)
    • huángmào or wángmào(皇帽 or 王帽)- formal headwear of the emperor, lingzi can’t be attached Pic1a
    • jiŭlóngguàn(九龙冠)- “nine dragon” crown; casual headwear of the emperor Pic2a
    • căowángkuī(草王盔)- worn by self-proclaimed sovereigns; practically identical with the wangmao, differs on three points: it has an additional golden wrap above the black shuisha, it’s slightly less decorated, and unlike the wangmao, it can be equipped with lingzi but not with dasui Pic3a
    • píngtiānguān(平天冠)- crown with a flat tablet-like thing on the top; worn by the rulers of Heaven or the Underworld, rarely used by “earthly” emperors or empresses  Pic4a-1 (male, female), Pic4a-2
    •  zĭjīnguàn or tàizĭkuī(紫金冠 or 太子盔)- worn by young but high-ranking military officers or the crown prince, made of a big diadem and a children’s crown (might or might not have lingzi) Pic5a-1, Pic5a-2
    • fèngguān(凤冠)- phoenix crown; spectacular folding fan-shaped crown Pic6a
    • guòqiáo or bànfèngguàn(过翘 or 半凤冠)- half phoenix crown
      – a bigger version(大过翘)for princesses and higher ranking ladies Pic7a
      – a smaller(小过翘)for palace maids and similar Pic8a
    • rúyìguān(如意冠)-  Mei Lanfang’s creation, especially for Farewell My Concubine Pic9a
    • dàoguān(道冠)- Daoist crown; reformed headwear of characters possessing Daoist wisdom Pic10a
    • píluómào or wŭfóguàn(毗罗帽 or 五佛冠)- Five Buddha crown; Buddhist head monk’s crown made of five panels Pic11a
    • jiègū or yuèyágū(戒箍 or 月牙箍)- lit. “give-up-desires hoop” or “crescent moon hoop”; Buddhist monk’s headband Pic12a
    • máguàn(麻冠)- mourning crown Pic13a
Pic1a Pic2a Pic3a
Pic4a-1 Pic4a-2 Pic5a-1
Pic5a-2 Pic6a Pic7a
Pic8a Pic9a Pic10a
Pic11a Pic12a Pic13a
  •  Helmets(盔·kuī)
    • shuàikuī(帅盔)- marshal’s helmet; a big diadem with a trident-looking decoration on the top, silver or golden Pic1b
    • nǚshuàikuī(女帅盔)- female marshal’s helmet Pic2b
    • lăodàn shuàikuī(老旦帅盔)- senior female marshal’s helmet; a laodan phoenix crown with the top decoration Pic3b
    • qīxīngézĭ(七星额子)- “seven stars” diadem; two-layered headdress of female generals, with seven pompoms in each line Pic4b
    • zhājīn(扎巾)- warrior’s “bandana” with mianpai, decorated with pompoms and pearls Pic5b
    • zhājīnkuī(扎巾盔)- a zhajin decorated further with a big diadem and more pompoms Pic6b
    • fūzĭkuī or fúzìkuī(夫子盔 or 福字盔)- a zhajinkui decorated even further Pic7b
    • bāmiànwēi or bāyīngkuī(八面威 or 八缨盔)- “eight-sided” or “eight tassels” helmet Pic8b
    • héfānkuī(和番盔)-  Wang Zhaojun’s helmet Pic9b
    • pànkuī(判盔)- lit. “judge helmet”, referring to the judge of the Underworld; Zhong Kui’s headwear with peach leaf wings Pic10b
    • jiāngjīn(将巾)- military leader’s casual headdress with a fabric flap at the back Pic11b
    • héyèkuī(荷叶盔)- “lotus leaf” helmet; military leader’s helmet shallowly resembling a lotus flower Pic12b
    • shīzĭkuī(狮子盔)- lion helmet Pic13b
    • dàoyīngkuī(倒缨盔)- tasseled helmet, a special version is Lin Chong’s yèbēnkuī (夜奔盔), “fleeing-in-the-night helmet” (right) Pic14b
    • guànzĭkuī(罐子盔)- “jar-like helmet”; peaked helmet of guards, attendants Pic15b
    • zhōngjūnkuī(中军盔)- military gatekeeper’s helmet; looks like an upside down round flowerpot Pic16b
    • báishé ézĭ(白蛇额子)- White Snake diadem; Bai Suzhen’s helmet from Tale of the White Snake Pic17b
    • qīngshé ézĭ(青蛇额子)- Green Snake diadem; Xiaoqing’s helmet from Tale of the White Snake Pic18b
    • húdiékuī(蝴蝶盔)- butterfly helmet of high-ranking female military officers, worn with the reformed armor Pic19b
Pic1b Pic2b Pic3b
Pic4b Pic5b Pic6b
Pic7b Pic8b Pic9b
Pic10b Pic11b Pic12b
Pic13b Pic14b Pic15b
Pic16b Pic17b Pic18b
  • Hats(帽·mào)
    • hóumào(侯帽)- “marquis hat” with floppy ears; also called taiding (台顶) if it has an additional trident-looking thing on the top (for characters holding military power) Pic1c
    • xiàngdiāo or xiàngshā(相貂 or 相纱)- prime minister’s muslin hat with two long wings; plain black like Judge Bao’s or copper-colored and decorated for elderly ministers Pic2c-1, Pic2c-2
    • găiliáng xiàngdiāo(改良相貂)- reformed prime minister hat;  inlaid, decorated, with dragons on both wings. Goes well with the simple reformed mang. Pic3c
    • fényángmào(汾阳帽)- commonly referred to as “wényáng”  (文阳) or jīndiāo (金貂), headdress of powerful auxiliary officials with ruyi wings. The Prince of Fenyang, Guo Ziyi is wearing this crown, hence the name. Pic4c
    • zhādēng(扎镫)- military version of the fenyangmao, looks the same just doesn’t have the wings Pic5c
    • dámào(鞑帽)- “Tatar hat”; traveling hat of non-Han regents, kings Pic6c
    • zhāntiānkuī(钻天盔)- “piercing the sky” helmet; a version of the above, Sun Wukong’s hat with a lotus flower-shaped pillar on the top, hence the name. Pic7c
    • luómào(罗帽)- six-sided hat of chivalrous persons
      • yìng~(硬罗帽)- hard, usually decorated with pompoms all around Pic8c
      • ruăn~(软罗帽)- soft, there’s an embroidered (花~) and a plain black (素~) version Pic9c-1, Pic9c-2
    • tàijiānkuī(太监盔)- court eunuch’s headwear Pic10c
      • xiăo~(小太监盔)- simpler for juniors
      • dà~(大太监盔)- larger and more decorated for seniors
    • shāmào(纱帽)- basic black official’s hat Pic11c
      It can be equipped with a variety of accessories (Pic12c):
      – fāngchì (方翅) – square wings for the sheng
      – jiānchì (尖翅) – pointy wings for the jing
      – yuánchì (圆翅) – round wings for the chou
      – táoyèchì (桃叶翅) – peach leaf wings for scholars
    • zàolìmào(皂隶帽)- black hat with peacock feather and “long life” character; for yamen (government office) runners Pic13c
    • zōngmào(鬃帽) – “horse’s mane hat”; black netted hat made of horse’s tail, for jing and chou Robin Hood-like characters Pic14c
    • căomàoquān(草帽圈) – straw hat brim; for fishermen, woodcutters etc. Pic15c
    • yúpózhào(渔婆罩) – fisherwoman’s shade; female version of the caomaoquan, decorated with tassels and pompoms Pic16c
    • sēngmào(僧帽)- Buddhist monk’s casual hat with embroidered “Buddha” character (佛) Pic17c
    • zhānmào(毡帽)- simple felt hat; blue or white for workers, red for office servants Pic18d
    • shāozĭmào(梢子帽)- two-colored felt hat of transport guards, soldiers in supporting role etc. Pic19d
    • qínjiāomào(秦椒帽)- “chili pepper hat”; red felt hat of office servants, yamen runners Pic20d
    • liú lìhuá mào刘利华帽)- Liu Lihua’s cap in At the Crossroads Pic21c
    • nuănmào(暖帽)- “warm hat”; modeled after the Qing dynasty winter hats Pic22c
    • liángmào(凉帽)- “cold hat”; modeled after the Qing dynasty summer hats Pic23c
      Depending on the height of the decoration towered on the top of the warm and cold hats, they can be called cháoguàn Pic24c (朝冠 – “court crown” of the Emperor), or jífúguàn Pic25c (吉服冠 – hat of officials and functionaries worn with the “auspicious clothes”).
    • guāpímào(瓜皮帽)- “melon skin hat”; the typical Chinese skullcap worn with long braid Pic26c
Pic1c Pic2c-1 Pic2c-2
Pic3c Pic4c Pic5c
Pic6c Pic7c Pic8c
Pic9c-1 Pic9c-2 Pic10c
Pic11c Pic12c Pic13c
Pic14c Pic15c Pic16c
Pic17c Pic18c Pic19c
Pic20c Pic21c Pic22c
Pic23c Pic24c Pic25c

Screenshot proves the caomaoquan is really made of straw.

  • Caps, soft caps, headcovering(巾·jīn)
    • huángjīn(皇巾)- made of yellow satin, with chaotianchi on the back; headwear of the emperor when he’s fallen ill Pic1d
    • xiàngjīn(相巾)- square shaped with a white jade and chaotianchi; casual headdress of the prime minister Pic2d
    • wénshēngjīn or xiăoshēngjīn(文生巾 or 小生巾)- pretty, delicate young scholar’s hat Pic3d
    • wŭshēngjīn(武生巾)- military version of the wenshengjin, doesn’t have the piaodai Pic4d
    • qiáoliángjīn(桥梁巾) – “bridge hat”; worn by the wenxiaosheng, looks like a miniature chalet Pic5d
    • jiĕyuánjīn or xuéshìjīn(解元巾 or 学士巾)- office-holding scholar’s hat with wings Pic6d (reformed version: Pic H)
    • fāngjīn(方巾)-  square hat; the plain black and slightly taller version with a white jade decoration is called (高方巾), “high square hat”, typical headwear of the poor scholar Pic7d
    • bāguàjīn(八卦巾)- eight trigrams hat; special square hat of Zhuge Liang Pic8d
    • héyèjīn(荷叶巾)-  lotus leaf hat; square hat with four flaps on the top Pic9d
    • yuánwàijīn(员外巾)- landlord’s casual headwear Pic10d
    • găiliáng yuánwàijīn(改良员外巾)- reformed landlord’s hat; more elegant and refined Pic11d
    • yāwěijīn(鸭尾巾)- ducktail hat; scholar’s fur-trimmed satin hat, evolved from the felt hat Pic12d
    • yìng yāwěijīn(硬鸭尾巾)- hard ducktail hat; same as above combined with a crown Pic13d
    • bàngchuíjīn(棒槌巾)- “wooden club hat”; satin cap with small peach leaf wings at the back, pathetic evil guy’s or thug’s headwear Pic14d
    • dàyèjīn or dàbănjīn(大叶巾 or 大板巾)- “big leaf” or “big board” hat; military officer’s hat with a big board on the top and flap at the back Pic15d
    • xiăobănjīn(小板巾)- “small board” hat; lower ranking version of the above Pic16d
    • dàogūjīn(道姑巾)- Daoist nun’s floppy headgear Pic17d
    • fēngmào(风帽)- “phoenix hat”; hood used in rain and wind, yellow for the emperor, red or black for males, embroidered for females Pic18d
Pic1d Pic2d Pic3d
Pic4d Pic5d Pic6d
Pic7d Pic8d Pic9d
Pic10d Pic11d Pic12d
Pic13d Pic14d Pic15d
Pic16d Pic17d Pic18d

Four little rascals in a selection of felt and square hats

Qing dynasty phoenix crown

Half of the headdresses used in the capital’s theaters are made by the 70 years old master, Li Jizong (李继宗), the “King of Headdresses”.

Li Jizong with his great-granddaughter and several pieces of artwork.

Zhang Huoding custom ordered this phoenix crown.

Hairstyles (头)

  • dàtóu(大头)- the most common qingyi hairstyle with bun Pic1e
  • zhuājìtóu(抓髻头)- hairstyle of servant maids, female warriors etc. with upwards combed bun Pic2e
  • qítóu(旗头)- Manchu hairstyle
    • liăngbătóu(两把头 – with a big arch-like board and asymmetrical pianzi Pic3e-1, Pic3e-4
    • qítóu diànzĭ(旗头垫子)- empress dowager’s hairstyle with big flowery buns on both sides Pic3e-2
    • qítóu zuòzĭ(旗头坐子)- smaller version for lower ranking women Pic3e-3
  • gŭzhuāngtóu(古装头)- hairstyle with big scoops and small bangs for Mei Lanfang’s guzhuang (ancient-style dress) Pic4e
  • laodan hairstyles: decorated bun for high ranking old ladies /zōngfă (棕发), “coir hair” for poor women Pic5e
  • péngtóu(蓬头)- “disheveled hair”; messy hairstyle of Daoist monks, heavenly beings (longer) and demons, goblins etc. (shorter) Pic6e
  • háiérfă(孩儿发)- children’s hair; wig with bangs and two topknots for the wawasheng Pic7e
Pic1e Pic2e Pic3e-1
Pic3e-2 Pic3e-3 Pic3e-4
Pic4e Pic5e Pic6e

Hair accessories

  • lēitóudài(勒头带)- basic accessory with two long ribbons wrapped around the head, lifts the eyebrows and eye corners, keeps additional hair pieces in place Pic1f
  • piànzĭ(片子)- sideburns, sidelocks and bangs glued on the forehead and around the cheeks Pic2f
    • (小弯)- small curls on the forehead (usually 7) Pic2f-1
    • (大柳 or 大弯)- sideburns around the cheeks Pic2f-2
    • shuĭzhé(水折)- a bigger curl of hair covering the ears (optional)
  • xiànyĭzǐ¹(线尾子)or xiànliánzi(线帘子)or shúsīliánzi(熟丝帘子)- knee-length long threads, tied onto the top of the head Pic3f
  • wăngzĭ(网子)- lit. “netting”; a beanie-looking wig covering the head
  • dàzān(大簪)- big hairpin, looks like an arrow (in the datou it fastens the xianyizi, also the fadian is strapped to this)
  • fàdiàn(发垫)- bun pad
  • dàfà(大发)- lit. “big hair”, a big bunch of hair that covers the fadian
  • zhuājì(抓髻)- bun of the zhuajitou Pic4f
  • fàjì(发髻)- a simple coil of hair on the top of the head
  • shuăifà(甩发)- “tossing hair”; male ponytail on a post, suitable for twirling it in despair Pic5f
  • yānyĭ¹(燕尾)- swallowtail piece on the back of the qitou
  • pīfà(披发)- “spread-out hair”; long, untied wig of Zhuge Liang Pic6f
  • bìnfà(鬓发)- “hair on the temples” (not a technical term), sidelocks Pic7f
  • fàlǚ(发缕)- “lock of hair” (not a technical term); destitute or insane character’s “out of the place” locks of hair
  • shuĭshā(水纱)- a long, black piece of silk wrapped tightly around the head, creates a neat hairline Pic8f
  • lăodàn lēizi(老旦勒子)- black velvet strip with a pearl or gem used in laodan hairstyles Pic9f
  • chóutiáo(绸条)- “silk strip” (not a technical term); headband of the laodan Pic10f

¹ Though pinyinized as yanwei and xianweizi in Alexandra Bonds’ book, according to the alternative pronunciation of the character “尾” yanyi and xianyizi are in use. (ref,ref)

Pic1f Pic2f Pic2f-1
Pic2f-2 Pic3f Pic4f
Pic5f Pic6f Pic7f
Pic8f Pic9f Pic10f

Most professional accessories are made of human hair, preferably Asian (won’t curl)

How to stick pianzi?
Soak elm tree shavings in hot water, distribute the mucus you get on other person’s cut-off hair, then stick it to your face.

Combing process (梳头·shūtóu)

If it helps to achieve the desired look, use it!

Hard head ornaments (头面·yìngtóumiàn)

Main sets:

  • shuĭzhān(水钻)- Jeweled ornaments. The blue set is for wealthy or middle-class married women (A1); the red set is a more festive one, for newly wed young ladies or flirtatious maids. (A2)
  • diăncuì(点翠)- Blue filigree ornaments.
    Sets of Northern style opera (北派) (B1) and Southern style opera (南派) (B2) differ. Northern diancui is grand and gorgeous, the Southern one is delicate and elegant.
  • yíndìng(银锭)- Simpler silver set of poor women. (C)






Each set  is made of around 50 different pieces. Main items are:

  • zhèngfèng(正凤)- symmetrical big phoenix, main front piece of the guzhuangtou D
  • dàpàozi(大泡子)- the biggest, middle forehead jewel (1)
  • xiăopào(小泡)- smaller, round jeweled pins (2)
  • dĭnghuā(顶花)- crown jewel (3)
  • pàolián(泡联)- ribbon strip decorated with jewels (4)
  • ĕrwāzi(耳挖子)- lit. “ear digger”, the horizontal pieces on both sides of the head (5)
  • piānfèng(偏凤)- lit. “one-sided phoenix”; a pair of phoenix-shaped accessories worn around the ears (6)
  • hòusāntiáo(后三条)- “three back strips”, decoration of the bun (7)
  • húluzān(葫芦簪)- hair sticks, worn in the bun (8)
  • liùjiăoliàohuā(六角料花)- 6-pointed pin (9)
  • fèngtiăo(凤挑)- “phoenix stick”; long, festive hanging ornaments (10)
  • butterfly pin (11)
  • small hairpins in different shapes and sizes (12)
  • yātiáo(压条)- long hair clips (13)
  • biānfú(蝙蝠)- “bat”; bat-shaped accessory, usually covers the ears (14)
  • liúsū húdié(流苏蝴蝶)- tasseled butterfly, covers the dafa on both sides (15)
  • Mei school symmetrical butterfly E


Shuizhan – asymmetrical and symmetrical phoenix (“ancient style” hair)

Diancui – Northern and Southern-style big phoenix (“ancient style” hair)

Red shuizhan set

Shuizhan pieces

Shuizhan pieces

Southern diancui set

Diancui pieces (N=Northern, S=Southern)

Diancui pieces (N=Northern, S=Southern)

Diancui pieces (N=Northern, S=Southern)


Yinding set

Sources: 秦钟wzl乌托邦帮刘骏红豆少主行者的镜界慢哥的地盘狠老虎不喂hitan_bri肥猫的空间戏剧像素耶律烨白头老王反客生, yunxiang’s blogHow to…? 1, How to…? 2