The use of facial painting in Chinese Opera is known to have existed as early as the Yuan dynasty (1206-1333). By the Ching dynasty (1644-1911), facial painting had become fixed in set styles. Face paintings not only add color to the stage performance, but also designate the nature of a role or reveal certain traits of the characters who wear them. Such traditional garish make-up has formed one of the special characteristics of the Chinese theatrical arts. Different designs and combinations of colors used in facial painting are generally grouped into categories for various roles.
To interest the public in the Chinese the-atrical arts, a set of postage stamps was issued with four facial paintings, selected from the Chinese Opera as the central designs on the Drama Day, February 15, 1966.
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