Imperial China, The Yangtze River & Tibet
May, 2007 an OAT Tour

Beijing - Today's Artists and Craftsmen

The Beijing Opera

The Chinese Opera is colorful and exciting.

The Beijing Opera was one of the jewels of our trip to China. What a surprise. The Beijing Opera began in the Qing dynasty. The Opera has survived the persecution of actors and the banning of most of the plays during the Cultural Revolution. The colors of the painted faces symbolize the individual character's qualities. Red represents loyalty and courage; purple, solemnity and a sense of justice; green, bravery and irascibility. The music is distinct and the plays are based on Chinese history and literature. The Opera is "total theater" with singing, speech, mime, and acrobatics. The roles of the characters are clearly demonstrated by their painted faces and clearly recognized by the Chinese audience. We were introduced to the roles and story by screens on each side of the stage.

As we arrive we witness actors painting their faces.      The Monkey is a favorite character - clever, resourceful and brave      The Monkey King

The scene is a dark room where the two combatants can't see each other     They swing swards in the dark trying to kill their unseen adversary

Dan - the female role      Sheng - the male role may be young or old

      Jing - the most striking have the most forceful personality

Cloisonne Factory

Cloisonne ware is the "pottery" of Emperors. The vases, jars, bowls, and plates are not made of clay but of copper covered with elaborate enamel designs. The process requires a complicatd process of copper-wire curving, soldering, enamel filing, enamel firing, polishing and gilding. The first step is to outline a design by sodering small copper wires to the pot or object d'art. Colored enamal is then painted within the outlines and the object is fired and then polished to grind down the copper wire outline to make a smooth product. The finished product is beautiful.

The first step is to soder curved wires to the vase to outline the design.      We are given a chance to test our artistic skills.

Many colors avalable to paint the design.      The enamal is fired.

The fired vase is then polished smooth.      Beautiful objects of art to decorate the Emperor's table.

Silk Carpets

Surprisingly, we have learned a lot about how religion controls, or restricts, social progress as we traveled in Morocco, Egypt, and Turkey. We have watched local people make beautifully designed carpets and have bought a few. For years we have wanted to buy a green carpet and none was to be found. In the Moslem countries the design is restricted because they can't depict the human figure - graven images you know. Also certain designs are restricted for religious uses. What we didn't know, however, is that in the Moslem countries you can not get a green carpet because green is the Moslem religious color. You shouldn't walk on the religious color - thus no hand tied carpets with green in them. Religious tolerance is one thing, but religions dictating every aspect of your life is something else. In China there are no restraints on design or color and we found that refreshing. Buddhist monks were seen in every city but no one is selling religion on the street. So here is our visit to the Beijing carpet factory where silk is the fabric of choice. Silk is unique because it is strong, holds the color, and remarkably changes color as you view it from different angles.

A lecture on making silk carpets - a Chinese specialty     Girls at the loom tying the knots - notice the pattern above their heads

Carpets of all sizes and in all colors      Looking for just the right color

The search narrows - see the change in color of the carpet on the right in the next picture.     A choice is made - a beautiful green carpet. Notice how the colors change depending on he angle.

Index to all China 2007 Adventures:

The following pages are still under construction
so be patient and come back to watch its growth.

[Back to the Top]

This page was created by Bob "Belli" Frazee

Bob at Grand Tetons, 2015
Belli at the Grand Titons, June 2015

Return to Belli's Home Page

If you have any questions, or corrections, just write to Belli

Since March 2008, you are visitor number