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Together with Greek tragedy and comedy, and Indian Sanskrit opera, Chinese traditional opera is considered as one of three ancient operas in the world. Among the more than 360 ancient local operas in China, Beijing Opera is known as China's national opera, despite of its comparatively young 200-year history.
Four kinds of roles are included in Beijing Opera: Sheng, main male role; Dan, young and beautiful female; Jing, painted faced male; Chou, clown, male or female. Beijing Opera is a kind of comprehensive performing arts, that is, sing, read, and do, fight, dance. Beijing opera usually represents Chinese opera and is seen as "the quintessence of Chinese culture".
As a major feature, each role has a facial makeup to show the character, trait and fate that helps understand the story. Put simply, red expresses warriors, black means integrity, bravery and even recklessness; yellow shows vicious brutality, blue or green represent irritable people and white, bad guy.
It is listed in "intangible cultural heritage" in November 16, 2010.