Jing characters usually have a variety of colors painted on their faces, and this reveals some of their corresponding traits (Seppala). The color red represents a character that is loyal and upright. It also represents characters that are courageous. Jing characters painted in red are consequently likely to be warriors, martial artists, or leaders. An example of such a character is Xiang Yu. A Jing character played in black often represents traits of abiding to the law, uprightness, and integrity. They were also capable of violence. Xiang Yu was often depicted in red as well as black. He was a man who ended his life for his concubine, signifying loyalty while the red part symbolized his part of being a warrior (CCTV English). Lord Guan Yu was also painted in red in “Into the Enemy Camp.”
Yellow represented a character that is
reserved and wise. This was often depicted among older characters, monks, and
leaders (Seppala). An example is Li Yuanba in “Siping Mountain.” White color, especially if painted
alone, represented characters that were evil, deceitful, manipulative, or
crafty. Usually, they were the principle sources of disorder and other types of
problems in the play. An example is Cao Cao in The Three Kingdom stories (Bonds
212). The color blue often depicts
calculating and shrewd characters. They could also be rough, cruel, and haughty.
They were often leaders or generals who showed a high level of loyalty and
strength. Cao Cao would also sometimes be painted in blue (Bonds 212).
Bonds, Alexandra B. Beijing Opera Costumes: The Visual Communication of Character and Culture. University of Hawaii Press, 2008.
CCTV English. New Version of “Farewell My Concubine” Brings Debate. cctv.com. 2012. english.cntv.cn/program/cultureexpress/20120405/109493.shtml Accessed 12 May 2018.
Seppala, Pertti. Role Types of the Peking Opera. Asian Traditional Theatre and Dance. N.p. disco.teak.fi/asia/role-types-of-the-peking-opera/, Accessed 12 May 2018.
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