Beijing - Today's Artists and Craftsmen
The Beijing Opera
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.
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.
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.
Index to all China 2007 Adventures:
so be patient and come back to watch its growth.
This page was created by Bob "Belli" Frazee
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