The facial makeup of Beijing opera is a living art that appears on the stage with the actors. It is a stylized form. Different roles have specific costumes and colors featuring their character traits. Clay facial makeup of Beijing opera three－dimensionally represents varied and colorful images in Beijing opera.
Facial makeup is in the course of continuous development. Actors put on facial makeup according to the plot of an opera or their understanding of the roles they act. So there are more and more types of facial makeup,” said Luo Shiping, professor with Central Academy of Fine Arts.
The shaping of facial makeup and the general colors cannot be changed. But in most types of facial makeup, the contrast between colors is too sharp. Craftsmen of clay facial makeup paint half tints between two different colors. For instance, they paint a pink line between red and white or a gray line between black and white, enriching the colors of facial makeup.
Eyes are the window of the soul. One’s inner feelings and character are expressed through the eyes. Craftsmen of clay facial makeup pay much attention to the portrayal of eye expressions, showing the character traits of different roles in Beijing opera and revealing the inner worlds of these roles.
The actor,s costumes and belongings are divided into four categories, namely the decorative hat, the false beard, whiskers and wig, the sword and spear, and the costume and shoes.
Traditional types of facial makeup of Beijing opera were bareheaded. The facial makeup could hardly be connected with Beijing opera. Today the decorative hat, the false beard, whiskers and wig, the bust and the sword and spear form complete images of characters appearing on the stage of Beijing opera. The craftsman finishes the head and bust of a clay facial makeup and then adds the decorative hat and the false beard, whiskers and wig. In terms of general effects, the different types of clay facial makeup are quite similar to what the actors wear on the stage. Clay facial makeup is semi－three－dimensional, so it can be hung on the wall.
He believes that this can reproduce the scene of the opera more vividly and convey people,s impressions of Beijing opera more accurately. So he adds these things to it. If he does not add these things, the effects will be different. With these things added to it, you feel as if you were present on the scene. In particular, it can help you recall what you watched on the stage, said Luo Shiping, professor with Central Academy of Fine Arts.
Clay facial makeup covers the four major role categories, namely male, female, painted face and clown. Most types of facial makeup used to feature only the role category of painted face. So clay facial makeup displays all the role categories of Beijing opera.
As a traditional Chinese art, Beijing opera has been greatly admired by audiences for ages. Clay facial makeup vividly displays different characters in Beijing opera. Many people have also been very much impressed by these solid artistic images.