Opera Beijing Masks – Meaning Of Colors Used In Mask
The Beijing opera, like some various other types of Chinese opera, is one of the oldest known dramatic art forms in the world.
Opera Beijing Masks Meaning Of Colors Used In Mask
One crucial factor that contributed to the growth of Chinese opera is the encouragement being received from then court emperors and officials. Therefore, the Chinese form of musical theatre and drama become a customary art form.
The Beijing opera in particular – which is a combination of music, vocal performance, dance, mime, and acrobatics – became very much popular in the Qing dynasty court.
But as expected, it has continued to evolve throughout the dynasties that follow, and several works of art have been attached to it (which have become a norm)
Beijing opera costumes in nutshell
One of the eminent things that thrill the audience or spectators is the opera masks being used during the performance.
The origin of these masks is in olden days shamanic rituals, used basically for exorcisms. They are used in funeral rituals of northern parts of China.
It, however, evolved with time and found it way into other spheres of life. Many now use masks to celebrate births, as well as funerals. In fact, there are some specially meant for festive seasons, used during celebrations of important events like the Chinese New Year.
Masks mean a lot of things to various people, and some deep meanings are being attached to them. While some will approach the wearing of masks as simply fun, some believed that masks can protect against evil.
There are some masks that are used in rituals and originates from totemic serving of Yunnan and Guizhou. Groups of people often wear what has tagged “Sorcerer’s masks”.
Theatrical masks are used in opera performances, and it is obvious that most audiences are more fascinated with them. These masks are adorned on faces in Chinese opera and some other theatrical presentations.
With masks, the spectators are given the opportunity to read a character of a role instantly. This is made possible as a result of strict symbolism of colors that are used in painting them. They represent the characters’ personalities and even the status quo.
Various colors are used in Chinese Mask
It should also be noted that various colors are used in Chinese Mask. However, the dominant colors draw attention to specific characteristics.
If a character should wear a red mask, it is an indication that such is a positive character. This color symbolizes the positive values of the performer, such as loyalty, heroism, and courage. It can also mean prosperity and shows intelligence and bravery.
We should take note that purple is sometimes intentionally used as a substitute for red. If a character should wear a purple mask, it represents justice and sophistication.
A black mask is an indication that the performer Is neutral. This color also symbolizes impartiality and integrity.
Although a blue mask also symbolizes neutrality, it can also indicate traits like fierceness, stubbornness, and astuteness.
When a performer adorns a green mask, it simply shows the person is impulsive, violent, and also lacks restraint.
Yellow masks have various meanings. It basically means that the person wearing it is a cruel person. It can also symbolizes evil, ambitious and hypocritical.
A character with a white mask is evil and hypocritical.
- Gold And Silver
This is an indication that the performer is a demon, or a ghost (or even a spirit). This color generally denotes mystery.