Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Sichuan Opera, China

A card from Taiwan's neighbour, China.. this one also arrived quite a while ago. It shows characters from Sichuan Opera.

Sichuan opera is a type of Chinese opera originating in China's Sichuan province around 1700. Today's Sichuan opera is a relatively recent synthesis of 5 historic melodic styles. Regionally Chengdu remains to be the main home of Sichuan opera, while other influential locales include Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hubei and Taiwan.

Overall the art form is well known for its singing, which is less constrained than that of the more popular Beijing opera form. Sichuan opera is more like a play than other forms of Chinese opera, and the acting is highly polished.The music accompanying Sichuan opera utilizes a small gong and an instrument called a Muqin, which is similar to the Erhu.

The traditional formula is quite systematic with a combination of stunts like face-changing, tihuiyan, sword-hiding, fire-spitting and beard-changing with the plot and different characters.

Depending on the style, face paint is also limited compared to other related forms. Jing characters do not appear, and the only painted face characters are those with a small white patch in the middle of the face, which indicates a slightly evil character. The face paint colors are traditionally limited to black, red, white and grey.

The stamp on the left is from a set of 3 stamps issued in 1998 depicting King Yandi mausoleum. The other stamp is from a miniature sheet of two stamps issued in 2009 with the theme 'New Year lottery' (whatever that means).

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