The Makeup of Zhong Kui

.星期二, 03/26/2013 - 10:24

The makeup for well-known Peking Opera character Zhong Kui is notable for being in the shape of a bat-symbol of happiness because its Chinese pronunciation is a homonym of that for happiness.

  There are various versions of Zhong Kui’s story, the most popular of which tells of his winning first place in the highest imperial examination and of the emperor’s canceling Zhong’s zhuangyuan title because of his physical unattractiveness. In despair, Zhong Kui commits suicide by dashing his head against a pillar. The immortal Jade Emperor takes pity on him, and confers on him the post of dispeller of demons. Du Ping, one of Zhong Kui’s fellow imperial examinees, and fiancé of his younger sister, buries his late fellow scholar, and Zhong Kui’s gratitude moves him to escort his sister to her wedding to Du Ping. He goes on to excel at his post as judge and exorcist of demons and protector of mortals. Depite being the ugliest of all the gods in Chinese mythology, Zhong Kui is the most popular.

  The Peking Opera “Zhong Kui Marries off His Sister” is a national favorite. The bat design of Zhong Kui’s makeup signifies the happiness he brings to mortals, and the red shoe-shaped ingot on his forehead indicates his death from dashing his head against a pillar as well as his high-principled character. Zhong Kui’s black and white lines on his face endorse the character’s just uprightness, and the smiling expression reflects his innate good humor.


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