Learning About Culture: Peking Opera Mask



  • About Chinese culture
  • Gain an understanding of Chinese theater
  • Learn about the significances of the mask colors and patterns as it relates to the character.
  • How the colors and the meaning can be used for storytelling


Chinese operas use a special mask/makeup called Peking opera mask. These masks are special because they help the audience tell the characters apart and clearly tells their role they play. The use of these mask grew in popularity as going to operas became trendier. You can tell if a character is good or bad based on the color of the mask. Colors are very important when it comes to storytelling in the Peking opera. It tells you if the character is good or bad and helps tell the story.


  1. How does studying the Arts of another culture help one better understand the people of that culture?
  2. Specifically, what can one learn about Chinese society and culture through their opera and their use of masks?
  3. Why are the mask colors and patterns important?


Lesson plan created in partnership with 1882 Foundation