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Beijing Local Opera Museum
Latest Updated by 2006-02-27 11:29:44
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Built in 1807 and located in the Huguang Guild-Hall, the museum is an ideal place to appreciate the Peking Opera through both static exhibitions and live performances.

Although Peking Opera can be a bit odd sounding and mysterious for foreigners, a look at the exhibits will at least give an introduction to the delicate art.

Main attractions: One of the rare exhibits is a wooden pass for entry to the Forbidden City by Chen Delin, an early Peking Opera master, to entertain Empress Dowager Cixi. It served as an ID card with four Chinese characters inscribed on it detailing his looks mian huang wu bin (meaning yellow face with no hair on temples).

Also on display are some colorful costumes meticulously crafted with embroidery, musical instruments, and also props and martial art tools.

Real Peking Opera performances are held every evening on the glamorous stage in the theatre of the Guild Hall, a place once used to worship ancestors and for social gatherings by people from Hubei and Hunan provinces who settled down in Beijing as officials or businessmen.

Having been used as a storehouse by a movie studio during the "cultural revolution" (1966-1976), the interior of the theatre has since been restored to its former glory, thanks to one surviving painting that was hidden behind a portrait of Chairman Mao.

The two-storey structure of the Guild Hall was one of the most imposing of its time. There is a dried well at the front, the water of which was said to be sweet only twice a day and bitter the rest.

Another oddity is a big cage in one corner that houses some giant bird creatures and was used to frighten away the so-called "evil spirits."

There are not many exhibits compared to other museums. Another drawback is that explanations for exhibits are only in Chinese.

Add: 3 Hufanglu, Xuanwu District;

Entry ticket: Ticket: 10 yuan. Tickets for the evening Peking Opera performances must be bought separately at 150-580 yuan;

Opening hours: 9 AM -7 PM, daily;

Traffic: Take subway to Hepingmen, then take Bus No.s 14 or 7 to Hufangqiao;

Tel: 86-10-6351-8284.

Editor: Wing

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