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In ancient times, Peking Opera was performed mostly on stage in the open air, teahouses or temple courtyards. Since the orchestra played loudly, the performers developed a piercing style of song that could be heard by everyone. The costumes were a garish collection of sharply contrasting colors to stand out on the dim stage illuminated only by oil lamps. Peking Opera is a harmonious combination of the Grand Opera, ballet and acrobatics, consisting of dance, dialogue, monologues, martial arts and mime.
Facial Painting
It is said that this special art derived from Chinese opera has different origins. But no matter what its origin, facial painting is worth appreciating for its artistic value. The paintings are representations of the characters' roles. For example, a red face usually depicts heroic bravery, uprightness and loyalty; a white face symbolizes a sinister, treacherous and guile character and a green face connotes surly stubbornness, impetuosity and lack of self-restraint. In addition, facial painting patterns reveal information about a character, as well. Essentially, the unique makeup allows characters on stage to reveal them voicelessly.

Changing Faces
Peking Opera performers mainly have two types of facial decorations: masks and facial painting. The frequent on-stage changing of masks or facial makeup (without the audience noticing) is a special technique known as changing faces.
Changing faces is a difficult technique in operatic performance. It is considered to be a stunt that can only be mastered after extensive training. Face changing is also a special technique used to exaggerate inner feelings of characters, portray their dispositions, set off the atmosphere and improve effects. Facial changes expressing sudden changes in a character's feelings are done in four ways:
Blowing dust: The actor blows black dust hidden in his palm or close to his eyes, nose or beard, so that it blows back into his face.
Manipulating beard: Beard colors can be changed while the beard is being manipulated -- from black to gray and finally to white -- expressing anger or excitement.
Pulling-down masks:The actor can pull down a mask that has previously been hidden on top of his head, leaving his face red, green, blue or black to communicate happiness, hate, anger or sadness respectively.
Mop: The actor mops out the greasepaint hidden in his sideburns or eyebrows, around his eyes and nose, to change his facial appearance.

One of China’s oldest art forms ,originated during the New Stone Age
(6000-2000 BC )as part of the games and ceremonies used in sacrificial offerings to ancestors .People living in the Yellow River are created art forms similar to modern acrobatics as early as the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-221BC) .In books ,murals ,brick carvings ,and stone carvings of the Han Dynasty (206BC-AD220) ,people can easily find records about acrobatics .An art for the ages ,acrobatics has maintained its allure for both Chinese and foreigners throughout the ages.

Chinese KungFu(Wushu)
Wushu, or Martial Art, is an important component of the cultural heritage of China, with a rich content over the centuries. Literally, "Wu" means military, and "Shu" means art.Wushu therefore means the art of fighting, or martial arts. Martial training includes Ti (kicking), Da (punching), Shuai (throwing), Na (controlling), Ji (hitting), Ci (thrusting), etc. Related to each style are basic forms, or sequences, which may involve defense strategies, offense, retreat, mobility and immobility, speed and slowness, hard or soft postures, emptiness and fullness, with or without weapons.
Wushu's emphasis has shifted from combat to performance, and it is practiced for its method of achieving health, self-defense skills, mental discipline, recreational pursuit and competition. In 1990,Wushu was adopted as an official medal event in the Asian Games, and since then World Championships have been held with 56 nations participating. Now Wushu is vying for the Olympic Games in the 21st century.

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