Jing - the Painted-Face Male in Beijing Opera


To see a Jing (ching) actor for the first time is a startling experience for the spectator. This part is more noted for courage and resourcefulness than for scholarly intelligence. Often playing the part of a high-ranking army general, the Jing actor with his painted face can also be seen as a warrior or official . His robust, gruff, bass voice and grotesquely painted face together with his swaggering self-assertive manner all combine to make him the most forceful personality in most scenes in which he appears. Jing actors are usually, in fact, extroverts. The general rule for the basic color is: red for good,white for treacherous, black for brusque, and blue for wild, i.e. a bandit would have a blue face.

All Jing actors wear a heavy, ornate costume and a head dress with a padded jacket underneath to enhance the effect, They can be divided into three main types: Dong-Chui(T'ung Ch'uei), better known as Hei Tou (black face), who is good at singing and usually a loyal general; Jia Zi(Chia Tze), who is good at acting , and generally a more complicated character; and Wu Jing, who is mainly proficient in fighting and acrobatics and seldom plays a very prominent role.

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