Cheng Shaoyan: craftsman behind masks
2017-08-03 08:36:00

Cheng poses for a photo at Nanjing Folk Custom Museum on Aug. 2. (Photo/Wei Xin)

80-year-old Cheng Shaoyan, inheritor of Nanjing intangible cultural heritage, has been making lianpu, or Chinese opera facial make-up for more than 40 years.

Cheng was born in Shuyang County in northern Jiangsu province. After graduating from National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts in 1960, he began his working life as a wusheng (male martial arts role) at Jiangsu Academy of Peking Opera.

However, an accident happened to him changed his career. His foot was badly injured when he performed somersaults on the stage, which turned him to be a set designer.

But it proves to be a blessing in disguise.

Inspired from stage arts and performance, Cheng Shaoyan then focused on Peking Opera lianpu. By combining stage art and handicraft design, he has developed a line of his own while keeping the tradition alive. His craftsmanship has now been listed in the intangible cultural heritage of Jiangsu province.

“Lianpu is a quintessential sort of expression of Peking Opera. Unfortunately it’s been neglected now as compared with that in the first half of the 20th century. I hope my efforts can take in more concerns,” says Cheng Shaoyun.

His lianpu artworks are on display at Nanjing Folk Custom Museum until August 20.

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Source: Author: Wei Xin Editor: Dylan