As one of the Han Chinese traditional opera dramas, it originated in Sichuan with a history of more than 1,700 years. It has the research and cognitive value of Bashu culture, art, history and folk customs, and great significance in the history of Chinese opera and the development of Bashu culture. In 2006, it was inscribed on the List of National Intangible Cultural Heritage of China.
Bian lian (literally face changing) is the most traditional and famous form of dramatic art performance in Sichuan opera.
Features of Sichuan Opera’s Masks
In the history of Sichuan Opera, there is no full-time face painter, and all actors drew their own faces, making the actors’ faces or masks personalized and diversified. Patterns of the whole or part of animals are used for expressing the human characteristics, chosen on the basis of roles, performances, and portrait of characters and processed by deforming, exaggerating and ingenious arranging. Characteristics can also be expressed in color. For example, the red is used to express loyalty; the black means the straightforward and unselfish characters; the white symbolizes ruthless and insidious; the green and blue is to express the heroic outlaws, or the brave and fierce characters; while the gold, silver and gray mean mystery in expressing the roles of Buddha, god, fairy, demon, ghosts and so on.