Aug 31, 2009

Amazing act

The face changing, or "bian lian" in Chinese, is an important aspect of Chinese Sichuan opera. Performers wave their arms and twist their heads, and their painted masks change again and again and again. The sheer speed it is done will leaves you in awe.

Face-changing was first used in a story about a hero who stole from the rich to help the poor.
When he was caught by feudal officials, he changed his face to puzzle them and escaped as a result.

By the 1920s, opera masters began using layers of masks made of oiled paper or dried pig bladder. Skilled performers could peel off one mask after another in less than a second. Modern-day masters use full-face painted silk masks, which can be worn in layers of as many as twenty-four, and be pulled off one by one. How it is prepared and done is a highly kept secret.

Face changing is a highly protected skill and is only passed down to the male of the family as the female is considered a non-family member once she gets married.

Does anyone knows the secrets of "bian lian"?

1 comment:

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