The roles on the Chinese opera stage fall into four categories: Sheng, Dan, Jing and Chou. These roles have the natural features of age and sex, as well as social status, and are artificially exaggerated by makeup, costume and gestures.
Role of Jing
Jing refers to painted-face roles, known popularly as Hualian. The different colors and designs on the faces represent males with different characteristics. Some are bold and vigorous and some are sinister, ruthless, crude and rash. The voice is loud and clear, and the movements are exaggerated.
The Jing role originates from the Fujing role of the Song Zaju. The Jing roles gradually increased in number, and became further divided into several groups, according to the different social positions and characters of the roles.
Dahualian with a fully painted face is known as Zheng Jing. The roles represent men of high social standing and good behavior, often court ministers. Zheng Jing sings in vigorous and sturdy tones.
Erhualian, also known as Fu Jing, has powerful bodily movements and sturdy singing voices. Some roles in this group represent rascally ministers, recognizable by their white faces.
Wu"er Hualian is also known as Wu Jing. This role is more physical than most of the others, with little singing or reciting.
You Hualian, also known as Mao Jing, is a clownish role. Some of You Hualian roles have special skills, such as spouting fire from the mouth or baring the teeth.