World Reviewer rating

Worth a visit
Rating 0.7 (177 votes)

Beijing Opera Costumes

Listed under Original Gifts in Shanghai, China.

Pin It

The incredible exhibition of talent and ravishing visuals that is the Beijing Opera has been in existence since the late 1700s, when Chinese royalty, particularly during the Qing Dynasty, would employ highly skilled theatrical performers to entertain them with musical, dramatic and acrobatic exhibitions.

The performances were highly disciplined and accurate; the players had to reach very high standards in acrobatics, combat, vocals, pantomime and gesturing, and each member of a troupe would have been able to present a range of highly stylised, symbolic characters as part of a precisely choreographed piece of theatre.

Beauty and meaning were both of the utmost importance in all aspects of the Beijing Opera, and sets were often simplistic, so that the arrangement of the props and actors could always be symbolic and compositionally beautiful at any given moment. Movement was never presented erratically but always in slow, serene curves and this, coupled with the lack of props, meant that the costumes had to attract attention and impart information to the audience as to each character's social status and personality.

Robes worn by the characters would vary in style and colour depending on the rank of the character, for example children and the elderly would wear simple white robes, powerful characters would wear purple, emperors yellow and brave or honourable characters would wear red. The costumes were artistic masterpieces in themselves, designed to work with matching head dresses and elaborate facial makeup so that in effect, the entire human being would disappear, leaving only a stylised instrument of artistic interpretation.

The tradition has been kept alive and can still be seen today in Tianjin, Beijing and Shanghai, where the minutely detailed, embroidered costumes are still custom-made.

Available online here.

Written by  larapiegeler.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment, review or question

I want to
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?

Who's been here

No travelers have told us they have been here. Have you?

Similar Experiences

  • Weihnachtspyramiden

    The art of the deliciously kitsch is perfected at the all-year-round Christmas shop, Käthe Wohlfahrt, in Rothenburg ob der Taub…

  • Venetian Carnival Masks

    Masks were once almost an everyday part of life in Venice, and although they were worn in celebration of the Ascension, Christm…

  • Trachtenmode

    What does traditional Austrian clothing mean to you? Ladies in full-skirted dirndls and lace blouses? Little boys in lederhosen…

Related links

Contribute to this page