This framed wall hanging features Bao Zheng, a famous character in Beijing opera and Chinese history. Hand cast and hand painted in traditional Beijing opera costum and makeup. In opera or drama, he is often portrayed with a black face and a white crescent shaped birthmark on his forehead.
Bao Zheng (999~1062) was a much-praised judge from Song China. His job title was the Mayor of the capital city at the time. Because of his renowned fairness, he was popularly glorified "Blue-Sky Bao" or "Lord Bao". He was also nicknamed "Darkie Bao" by his enemies due to his very dark complexion.
In most dramatization of his stories, he used a set of guillotines, given to him by the emperor, to execute criminals. The one decorated with a dog's head was used on commoners. The one decorated with a tiger's head was used on government officials. The one decorated with a dragon's head was used on royalties. He was granted a golden rod by the previous emperor which he was authorized to chastise the current emperor with. He was also granted a precious sword from the previous emperor as a license to execute any royalties before reporting to the emperor to get approval first. His name became synonymous with justice, with the clear blue sky (qing tian) became a popular metaphor to justice in the Chinese-speaking world. Due to his strong sense of justice, he is very popular in China, especially among the peasants and the poor. He became the subject of literature and modern Chinese TV series in which his adventures and cases are featured.
Beijing opera of China dates back to the year 1790. With a history of over 200 years, Beijing Opera, which originated in Beijing, is the operatic form commanding the biggest following. Beijing Opera combines music, acrobatic dance, and spectacular costumes to tell stories from Chinese history and folklore.
The costumes in Beijing opera are graceful, magnificent, elegant and brilliant, most of which are made in handicraft embroidery. Besides the costumes, the actors also painted their faces with colorful paints. The facial makeup has various designs of lines and colored patches painted on the faces of certain operatic characters.