Jinxi Kats

ILLUSTRATION

Personal project
2013

Chinese operatic troupe, right from the streets of Beijing.

Huang Gai, a senior general of Wu, with a red six-tenth face plays a role in the opera Meeting of the Elite. An officer with Wu since the days of Sun Jian.

A master of the iron staff. At the Battle of Chi Bi, together with Zhou Yu, he hatched the Last Resort plan. After being attacked by Zhou Yu, Huang Gai surrendered to Cao Cao, where he then set fire to the Wei fleet, leading to a great victory for Wu.

Xiahou Ying with an inverted ingot face is the character of the opera Pursuing Han Xin. He was the great general of Liu Bang. It is from the book Informal Historical Novels of Period Xihan. He was ordered to set up an office to scout for talented people and persuade them to join Liu Bang’s cause.

Knowing that Han Xin was a very capable army commander, he recommended him to Xiao He, Liu Bang’s chief counselor. Liu Bang, however did not show much interest in the cat, so one day Han Xin in great disappointment rode away.

The opera tells how Xiao He and Xiahou Ying persuaded him and won him back.

Yi Li in The Golden Terrace, adapted from an episode in History of the Eastern Zhou. Yi Li was a eunuch serving King Min (r. 300-284 BC) of Qi. King Min was an incompetent ruler who indulged in wine and women and neglected his court duties. Gradually Yi Li assumed control of all state affairs.

Hu Shang with a white flowered three-tile face is a character of the opera, Reconciliation of the General and the Minister. King Zhao of Qin (306-252 BC) sent him as an emissary to invite the King of Zhao to a meeting at Mianchi.

Li Gang with a flowering black-cross face in A Picture of Qingyang, adapted from an episode in History of the Eastern Zhou. Li Gang was a general under King Li of Zhou. When King Nan of Zhou was enthroned at Qingyang, he gave Li Gang the honorary title of Three Thousand Years (the honorary title of a king or emperor in feudal times was Ten Thousand Years).

A dictum familiar to most Peking opera fans, No Red for the Three Gangs, illustrates how colors represent human character. The three Gangs (Li Gang, Yao Gang, and Xue Gang) were bold and obstinate, but in Peking operas they are portrayed as solemn and serious, so no red is allowed in their facial make-up, not even on their lips, and no pink powder (which symbolizes humor) is applied to their cheeks.

By contrast, in operas adapted from the Romance of the Yang Family the cheeks of the two characters Meng Liang and Jiao Zan are powdered pink because these two men are humorous by nature. In Hongyang Cave, however, the two no longer have pink cheeks, for this opera portrays them as old people whose temperaments have changed

Ji Liao is a cruel and ambitious man. He became king by dethroning his nephew and this nephew later hired an assassin to kill him.

Ao Run with an old gray three-tile face is one of the four dragon kings who rule the four seas in Water-Curtain Cave.

With information from http://www.paulnoll.com/China/Opera/