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Facial Makeup in Peking Opera


Among all Chinese traditional operas, types of facial makeup in Peking Opera have developed into the most systematic and mature one. types of facial makeup in Peking Opera is featured by painting brows, eyelids and jowls in various patterns such as bat, swallow wing and butterfly wing.


According to different genders, ages and features, each role type has its own makeup type. Artists use several colors and lines to paint the faces of characters. Facial makeup can also allow actors to expand the scope of acting and add interest to Peking Opera performances.



Painted faces include several types: three-tile face, six-tenth face, cross face and white-powdered full face symbolizing a treacherous character. Although painted faces are extremely stylized in form and pattern, no two painted faces are actually alike. Painted faces designed for Xiangyu number more than 100, and they are different from each other.


Painted Red represents uprightness and loyalty. For example, Guan Yu, the general of the Three Kingdoms period.

Painted Black indicates impartial and incorruptible, such as Judge Bao. It also means a rough and forthright character, such as Zhang Fei.

Painted White indicates treacherous and cunning. For example, Cao Cao, the general of the Three Kingdoms period.

Painted Blue indicates Bravery and pride, such as Ma Wu in“Go to The Imperial Palace”.

Painted Purple indicates justice and solemnity, such as Xu Yanzhao in “Entering the Palace Twice”.

Painted Gold indicates powerful, such as immortals.

The others: painted yellow, green, pink, silver, etc

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