183 Beijing Operas - Li Gang - Number 11
Beijing Opera - "A Picture of Qingyang"
Li Gang with a flowering black-cross face in "A Picture of Qingyang," adapted
from an episode in "History of the Eastern Zhou." Li Gang was a general under
King Li of Zhou. When King Nan of Zhou was enthroned at Qingyang, he gave Li
Gang the honorary title of Three Thousand Years (the honorary title of a king
or emperor in feudal times was Ten Thousand Years).
A dictum familiar to most Peking opera fans, "No Red for the Three Gangs,"
illustrates how colors represent human character. The three Gangs (Li Gang,
Yao Gang, and Xue Gang) were bold and obstinate, but in Peking operas they are
portrayed as solemn and serious, so no red is allowed in their facial make-up,
not even on their lips, and no pink powder (which symbolizes humor) is applied
to their cheeks. By contrast, in operas adapted from the Romance of the Yang
Family the cheeks of the two characters Meng Liang and Jiao Zan are powdered
pink because these two men are humorous by nature. In Hongyang Cave, however,
the two no longer have pink cheeks, for this opera portrays them as old people
whose temperaments have changed
Return to Lists of Beijing Operas - Page 1