Beijing Opera inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Credit to Han Wen / Beijing Bureau of Culture
Beijing Opera, or Chinese Opera, or Peking Opera (simplified Chinese: 京剧; traditional Chinese: 京劇; pinyin: Jīngjù) is a form of traditional Chinese theatre which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. It arose in the late 18th century and became fully developed and recognized by the mid-19th century.
Beijing opera features four main types of performers. With their elaborate and colorful costumes, performers are the only focal points on Beijing opera's characteristically sparse stage. They utilize the skills of speech, song, dance, and combat in movements that are symbolic and suggestive, rather than realistic. Above all else, the skill of performers is evaluated according to the beauty of their movements. The art form has come to be regarded as one of the cultural treasures of China and made the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Major performance troupes are based in Beijing and Tianjin in the north, and Shanghai in the south. The art form is also preserved in Taiwan, where it is known as Guoju (國劇; pinyin: Guójù). It has also spread to other countries such as the United States and Japan.