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Forbidden City

Dr. David Silber 19.08.2010 rerelease 23.05.13

The forbidden city was once home to the emperor and his 1000 concubines. The name derived from the law, that punished everyone, who visited the palace unauthorised, with death. Today you can see here:

  • 9000 rooms for concubines, eunuchs and officials
  • 750,000 m²
  • 600 years old
  • many small museums
  • home of 24 emperors

You can find more photos of the forbidden city in a flickr-gallery, which I curated.

Chinese Opera and Chinese Circus

Near the forbidden city are many theaters in which you can see Chinese opera and circus shows. I put both of these arts into one chapter, since both heavily use acrobatic elements in their shows.

When you travel to china it might be a good idea to listen to its local music, since its traditional music tells you a lot about its culture. Even if you have already seen a Chinese opera you should watch a Chinese opera in Beijing, since there are many different forms of operas in China. While the chinese opera was first performed in the 3rd century and has evolved into many variations, the Beijing opera is with 300 years much "younger" and it combines dances, songs and acrobatics. So if you go with your family to see the Beijing opera, there is something to watch for everyone.

In a chinese opera the faces of the actors are painted in a specific color code. The patterns of the actors gives the audiance a hint about the characters personality. Here are some colours and their connotations.

  • red, purple - a good character, which is oftern very brave and wise
  • black, blue - can be an ambiguos character or the audiance is not meant to know if the character is good or evil
  • green, yellow and white - the bad guys
  • silver, gold - a fantastic creature (dragon, ghost, monster...)