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Facial makeup of Peking Opera (2)

By Zheng Jinran (China Daily)

09:58, June 03, 2013

The painting - primarily white, red and black - usually takes about two days. (Xinhua/ Yang Shiyao)

The facial makeup used in Peking Opera stemmed from performances that can be traced back 1,400 years. Different colors of makeup, as well as the various facial expressions, represent different characters, personalities and fates of the roles.

Traditionally, Peking Opera masks are made of plaster, and it usually takes three years before they are dry and hard enough to paint like makeup.

The painting takes two days, starting with the base color (usually white), then outlining sections before filling them with colors (mainly red and black). Finally, the "makeup" is covered with a special latex coating to protect the bright color for a long time.

"It's time-consuming," Jiao says. "It's not efficient to produce a large amount of products in months," adds the man who had his first products sold in the US in 1987.

Jiao started to make the masks on paper or resin. In addition to the traditional form of masks, he created other products from paper for hanging, incorporating crystal stones for decoration and small light ornaments for Christmas trees.

His mask business has become an industry, including crafting and packing the products, bringing thousands of jobs for residents in neighboring counties.

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