Make-ups in Shehuo
With a long history, Shehuo is rooted from the primitive
sacrificial activities in which ancient people prayed for harvest and affluence
with their songs and dances from "She", originally meaning the God of Earth, and "Huo", literally meaning fire which ancient people believed to have the magic power of driving away the evil spirit.Shehuo gradually developed to a festive occasion to celebrate and pray for harvest in
its long evolutionary process.
The facial make-ups is essoncial to the "Shehuo" performence.
The art of facial make-ups in Shehuo boasts a long history. In ancient China, there was a form of dance called 'Nuo' which was performed at ritual ceremonies to frighten off the ghosts and evil souls and to relieve people of epidemics.Masks were used by performers when they danced.
Folk artists with solid painting skills mostly paint the modern horse ladle facial make-ups. Multi-layer patterns and the unique West China feature of using bright colors usually characterize the artworks. The steady style, uncouth sculpt, intense colors, simple yet delicate paintings, and bold, pure, fresh, free and exaggerated style can be found from all the original works, demonstrating the rich imagination and wisdom of the working people. The works are mostly paintings of righteous figures who are said to have magic powers in folktales or legends, such as Fengshenbang. Besides its original purpose of warding off evil, the artwork also holds high aesthetic values.
The facial make-ups is divided into the following types:
in legend:these roles act according to the content of
traditional legends, whose performance is to bless good fortune and safety
in the next year.
Characters in history:These
roles are real in history, but exaggerated by arts. Eg. the emperor in
Song Dynasty-Zhao Kuang-yin.
Clowns: these roles' task
is to joke the audience. Eg. Dumb
Characters in folk stories:these
roles carry forward traditional Chinese virtues.
Animals:these roles are cloth-made
dragons and lions. Chinese consider dragons to be friendly and helpful
creatures associated with strength, good fortune, wisdom and longevity.
Dancers: their task is to
increase conventions onstage.
The Shehuo facial make-ups in Huangyuan are specially known
for their fancy molds, bright colors and varied patterns, representing the
highest level in the region