The facial makeup of Beijing Opera is an unique art. Its facial
makeup is much more complicated than ordinary dramatic makeup.
With a special method, many different colors are painted on the
faces of performers. Special colors and patterns are used according
to different characteristics and features of people so that the
final effects symbolize goodness and evil; love and hatred. Even
within each style, different outlines and colors are utilized.
The different shapes of faces are also taken into consideration
in the process of makeup design. The facial makeup has a history
of several hundreds of years. It is generally believed that it
was evolved from "Daimian" mask in the Tang Music Dance,
and the face-painting skills in Canjun Opera. As early as the
12th or 13th centuries, the image of white powders around the
nose was created to show the derogatory personality
in Song and Jin operas. The facial makeup skills were greatly
developed after the formation of Peking Opera in the early 19th
This set of eight stamps shows different type of characters, each
with an unique style.
8-1 The Facial Makeup of Meng Liang. Meng Liang was a general under Yang Liulang, a famous patriotic general in the Song Dynasty. The red color here represents his honesty, optimism and righteousness.
8-2 The facial makeup of Li Kui. The facial makeup is painted
in black and dark color which shows the character's bravery, boldness,
boorishness and fierceness. The red flower beside his ear shows
that he was a gallant, uninhibited man like the English Robin
8-4 The Facial makeup of the Monkey King. Monkey King is the personified
monkey in Chinese novel "The Journey to the West". His
facial makeup is based on his metamorphosis from the monkey. He
is a lively resourceful, mischievous and cute character.
8-5 Lu Zhishen. The eyebrows are painted in the shape of a peacock
with smiling lines to the corners, and the mouth and the face
are broad, symbolizing that he is broadminded and forthright.
The wisdom lines under the eyes show he is also astute and prudent.
8-6 Lian Po. His eyebrows are tightly knitted. The pink color
shows he is a warm-hearted person. He is not headstrong as he
appears to be but offers humble apology for his wrong deed.
8-7 The facial makeup of Zhang Fei. His is the butterfly Shaped
makeup, which shows that he is cheerful, rough yet prudent.
8-8 The facial makeup of Dou Erdun. The makeup is of contrasting bright colors that shows he is rough and brave greenwood hero, but lacks resourcefulness.