Chinese Opera

Chinese opera exists in many forms including the popular Nuo opera that is a Chinese native religious dance and opera ritual performed in provincial villages in Southern China since antiquity, characterized by ferocious masks, unique dresses, adornments, a unique language, and mysterious scenes and includes singing, dancing and performers wearing masks and costumes. With origins in spirit and ancestor worship and Taoism, Nuo is performed to exorcise malevolent spirits, presents religious and cultural values and explores ancient origins, the world of the gods and spirits, historical legends, folktales and celebrated stories from popular literature. Nuo masks indicate the nature, temperament and manner of specific gods enhanced by distinctive gestures, with gods of the same category sharing common features. Masks are viewed as family protectors and Nuo masks or statues are often placed in homes to repel devils, disease and misfortune and attract blessings and luck.

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  • Antique Nuo Opera Female Mask, China (19220WRK) $395


    H: 9.25”  W: 5.75”  D: 2.25” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This antique-Chinese-wood-carving is a hand-carved Nuo Opera mask from Southern China of a smiling woman with a slender face, delicate features and hair in a topknot. She is a zhengshen, a friendly female deity (shen) with a kind, honest nature and a gentle disposition and a symbol of the power of good capable of defeating evil. Most Nuo masks are brightly painted, but the age and heavy use of this one has resulted in paint losses. Different colored bases under the reddish-brown indicate it was repainted and reused a number of times. The bright red lips have faded and areas around the eyes, mouth, nose and hair reveal what may be an original first layer of white gesso. Mask enthusiasts will appreciate the resulting paint and lacquer layers which tell the story of this mask’s colorful history, and, yes, the pun is intended. In very good condition for its age and use and for its journey surviving China’s modernization, masks like these were initially considered ethnic folk-art offerings to the gods and part of the VA Deities-and-Legends collection.

  • Antique Nuo Opera Mask of Tudi Gong, China (16574BAK) $575

    H: 10.5”  W:7.75”  D: 3” | FREE SHIPPING!

    This amusing antique Nuo Opera mask portrays Tudi Gong, the benevolent Earth god with a smiling animated face, long eyebrows, a hemp beard and large ears  wearing a high decorative hat. Tudi is a zhengshen, a god who is kindly, honest with a gentle disposition, symbolizing the great power of good, through which evil can be defeated. Nuo was popular during the Ming and Qing dynasties and although they are still performed in rural areas, there are few remaining troupes.



  • Sale!

    Pair of Antique/Vintage Carved Opera Figures (16161LME), China – SPECIAL PRICE

    Original price was: $875.00.Current price is: $675.00.
    H: 12.5″ W: 5.25″ D: 3.375″  |  CALL 213-568-3030 FOR SHIPPING COST

    Wood opera figures are rare and difficult to carve as they wear multicolor costumes with attached trappings and unique headgear and have complex painted faces providing viewers insight into their character. This is a simplified official and his wife with uniform coloring and a unifying lacquer coat seated on pedestals reflect the consummate carving skills in fashioning the many details reminiscent of opera costumes.

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  • Vintage Bearded Doll Official-Dancer Acrylic Stand, China (1301B-EAO) $195

    Ht: 8.75″  D: 4″  D: 3.125″: | FREE SHIPPING

    This delightful doll mounted on a frosted acrylic stand is dressed as a bearded official wearing a traditional ‘spread-wing” official’s hat. Originally mounted on a wood stick seen under his attire, he wears a dark blue and gold robe with a loose black, red and silver official’s belt and boots.  Although dressed as a Chinese official, he is clearly an entertainer. He holds a set of paper clappers – Kuaiban – meaning “fast boards,” a two-millennia old Chinese castanets-like instrument made of bamboo or wood slats tied together which entertainers rattle, shake, or clap together to produce a complementary sound or beat. This piece is in excellent condition with expected signs of wear and use in the clothing and minor paint losses.


  • Vintage Doll in Ceremonial Dress, China (1301C-EAO) $195

    H: 8.75″  W: 4″  D: 3.125″ | FREE SHIPPING!

    Originally mounted on the wood stick now inserted into an acrylic stand, this vintage elegantly dressed female doll is a dancer in ceremonial dress holding her elongated finely defined hands in front of her chest. Her wood head is beautifully painted and her black hair is intricately coiffed in a bun, a ponytail down her back, and with two upstanding ovals decorated with sequins, cloth, and plastic florals. She wears a long beige flowing dress with a contrasting yellow jacket, belt and sash that hangs down to the base inset with five pedal sequin flowers symbolizing a plum blossom and a wish for the Five Blessings and longevity.

  • Vintage Female Doll in Ceremonial Dress, Acrylic Stand, China (1301D-EAO) $195

    H: 10.5″  W: 3.5″  D:  3.125″ | FREE SHIPPING

    Originally mounted on the wood stick now inserted into its acrylic stand, this vintage, stately, elegantly dressed female folk-art doll is an opera dancer in ceremonial dress holding her elongated finely defined hands in front of her chest. Her wood head is beautifully painted and her black hair is intricately coiffed in a bun and ponytail down her back and adorned with two upward standing ovals decorated with sequins, cloth and plastic florals. She wears a long flowing beige dress with a contrasting yellow jacket, belt and sash hanging down to the base with five pedaled green flower plum blossoms, inset sequins, highlighted and outlined with silver thread and bright red shoes.

  • Vintage Male Doll Holding a Peach, China (1301A-EOA)

    H: 9.25″  W: 3.125″  D: 3″

    Originally mounted on the wood stick between his legs and now inserted to its acrylic stand, this vintage male doll is an attendant offering a huge peach. His large oval head is almost bald and his black hair remains only in a small patches on the sides of his head. He wears a typical colorful folk-art Chinese dance costume: bright red shoes, yellow pants, a greenish-blue coat with florals, a high sequined yellow belt,  and a wide blue sash outlined with silver and gold thread and colored 5-petal silver sequin plum blossoms hanging down to the base evoking a wish for the Five Blessings or Happinesses. It is in very good condition with expected wear and minor paint losses and charming spotting on the face.

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