Beijing Opera Costumes: The Visual Communication of Character and Culture

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This book is an in-depth study of modern Beijing costume. With numerous pictures it provides descriptions of costumes' history, symbolism, aesthetics, dressing techniques, and dressing techniques and costume plots. Makeup, hair, and headdresses are also addressed in their own chapter.

General information

Author Alexandra B. Bond
English title Beijing Opera Costumes: The Visual Communication of Character and Culture
Publisher University of Hawaii Press
Date of publication 2008 exactly on 2008/04/01
ISBN 0824829565 (find this book)
Number of Pages 350

Subject of the Book

This book focusses mostly about the following subjects:

Beijing Opera

General information

from the publisher

"This book is a very detailed and thorough examination of costuming (including make-up) in traditional Beijing opera as practiced today. The author has combined her expertise in costume design in general with extensive fieldwork and consultation in China. Because of the highly developed role-type system in Beijing opera and the premium put on visually distinguishing these role types on stage, costuming and make-up in Beijing opera are simultaneously very complicated, very full of meaning, and very worth paying attention to. This book, with its ample illustrations and clear structure, is an excellent guide to the symbolic systems used to differentiate characters on the Beijing opera stage, and, given the comparative lack in Beijing opera of scenery on the one hand and emphasis on the actor on the other, it could also be said to represent a guide to the visual world of Beijing opera in general. It is the only book of its kind in English, and it is very hard to conceive of it being surpassed any time soon." --David Rolston, University of Michigan "Alexandra Bonds' remarkable book is possibly the most extensive study of Jingju costume in any language, and by far the most complete coverage of the subject in English. Including historical and theoretical as well as very practical aspects, this book is lavishly illustrated with scores of beautiful photographs as well as patterns for the construction of major costume styles. It explores an impressive range of subjects in relationship to costuming, from role types, color and design symbolism, and makeup and beards, to the training of dressers. Professor Bonds has made a valuable contribution to both Chinese theatre and costume studies, and has provided real assistance to the working costumer, as well." --Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak, University of Hawai`i

Beijing Opera Costumes is the first in-depth English-language book focused exclusively on the costumes of Jingju, the highest form of stage arts in China. This comprehensive volume provides both theory and analysis of the costumes and the method of their selection for the roles as well as technical information on embroidery, patterns, and construction. Extensive descriptions illuminate the use of colors and surface images derived from historical dress and modified for the stage. Details on makeup, hairstyles, and dressing techniques present a complete view of the Jingju performer from head to toe.

Meticulously researched in Taipei and Beijing, this definitive work begins with an outline of the rich and complex history of Beijing opera and significant developments in design over the past millennium. Chapters on costume theory and design elements and their modification to create a wide variety of images are followed by presentations of individual costumes together with their historical background and use of color and pattern. A survey of the accessories and headdresses, makeup and hairstyles, accompanies the discussion of each costume. The intricacies of choosing costumes for a production and dressing actors are also discussed.

Lavishly illustrated with more than 250 color and black-and-white photographs and pattern drafts, Beijing Opera Costumes is an indispensable record of and resource for Jingju as it is performed in China today. Textile artists will appreciate the beauty of the colors and designs as well as the information on embroidery techniques and symbolism of the images. China scholars will value the contextual analysis and theater specialists the explication of costumes in relation to performance. Finally, costume designers will relish the opportunity to examine in detail their art in another cultural setting and theatrical style.

Further information

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