Beijing Museum of Traditional Opera

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The Beijing Museum of Traditional Opera is located inside the Beijing Huguang Guildhall Chamber of Cultural Prosperity and Ancestral Hall of the Local Worthy.

The museum's various exhibits have distinctively artistic characteristics. On display in the exhibition hall are several dozen biographies, cultural relics, and costumes and instruments that trace the history of Chinese traditional opera. Stage photos of Peking opera masters in performance are also exhibited. The most precious exhibits include a picture of Shouyun Xuan Accepting Congratulations, the pass to enter the imperial palace issued to opera star Chen Delin, the imperial phonograph, four famous Peking opera fiddles, and the Liyan Pictorial, all of which are of high artistic value.

Inside the exhibition hall is the most eye-catching exhibit - an admission pass to the imperial palace issued to Chen Delin, by the Court Theatrical Office. Chen Delin was an opera performance artist, and the foremost Qingyi actor at the end of Qing Dynasty. He was the inspiration of many famous opera artists, from Wang Yaoqing, to the Four Famous Female Characters (Mei Lanfang, Xun Huisheng, Shang Xiaoyun and Cheng Yanqiu). The pass was issued in the 25th year (1899) of Emperor Guangxu's Reign, when Mr. Chen used it to gain admission to and perform in the imperial palace.

The pass is 9cm wide, 15.5cm high, and 1.4cm thick, and has a hole through which to insert and tie a length of thread. On its face are two rows of characters: Court Theatrical Office, made in Guangxu 25. On the right is written: Student Chen Delin, aged 38, and on the left are characters describing the facial features of the holder: yellow, clean-shaven face. On the back appear the two characters that mean "waist tag." On the upper half are the vertical, gilded characters, "Issued by Office of the Imperial Household Department," and on the lower half appear the Manchurian characters: "Governor of Imperial Household Department."

Vividly depicting Chen Delin and his six famous students: Wang Yaoqing, Mei Lanfang, Jiang Miaoxiang, Wang Huifang, Wang Qinnong, and Yao Yufu, the picture of Shouyun Xuan Accepting Congratulations exemplifies the opulence of Peking Opera, and is of high cultural value.

The four famous Peking opera fiddles were made by Shi Shanpeng, the most famous Peking opera fiddle producer. Their sound was intended to imitate the voices and singing styles of the Four Famous Female Characters. Their excellent workmanship and superior quality of tone have won high acclaim within theatrical circles.

The Beijing Museum of Traditional Opera currently offers a range of activities, including performances, exhibitions, academic seminars, and foreign cultural exchanges. In addition, in the last week of each month, it holds a series of lectures on traditional opera, free of charge, every day at 2:00 p.m. During performances, both Chinese and English subtitles are screened, and there is also English and Japanese simultaneous interpretation.

Further Information:

Address: No.3 Hufangqiao Road, Xuanwu District. Take bus No. 102, 14, 66, 15, or 53, and get off at Hufangqiao

Open: 9:00 -- 17:00

Admission: 10 yuan

Tel: 8610-63518284 8610-63529134

Fax: 8610-63529134

Website: www.beijinghuguang.com

Beijing Museum of Traditional Opera
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