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Office of Great Peace Album of Opera Faces

Office of Great Peace Album of Opera Faces This album of pictures shows makeup for characters in the Peking opera. It is the work of a court painter in or after the Tongzhi reign (1851–74). In the Qing dynasty, an Office of Great Peace was established to manage the court dramatic troupe. When seasonal command performances and congratulatory ceremonies were held, this office was responsible for putting on plays. The makeup of the characters in the plays generally followed a set repertoire of faces and colors. The 97 paintings in this book show makeup for nine different kinds of plays. The illustrations are skillfully done, the colors are fresh, and both the silk ground and the pigments are of the highest quality. In all likelihood, the album was an "object for the enjoyment of his or her majesty." The album is highly valued for its art and for the information it contains, and constitutes a precious historical resource for the study of clothing and makeup in the early Peking opera.