272 Beijing Opera Masks - Zhang Fei - Number 21
Beijing Opera - "Reed Marsh"
Zhang Fei with a black-cross butterfly face, plays the leading character in "Reed Marsh," an act adapted in the opera "Sweet-Dew Temple". This opera is adapted from an episode in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a long historical novel and literary classic by Luo Guanzhong (c. 1330-1400).
Accompanying Liu Bei in his quest were Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, a warrior who wielded an 18-foot Octane-Serpent Spear. Zhang Fei rose up with the confederate league to expel Dong Zhou from Luoyang. In the struggle at Tiger Trap Pass, he intercepted Lu Bu's spear with his spear to save Gongsun Zan. Zhang Fei and Lu Bu fought one-on-one as the din of their blows rose to the skies. Though neither man could gain an edge, Zhang Fei won military glory with the display of his prowess. He is said to have the strength of Lu Bu and a fighting skill of Ma Chao. Cheng Yu, a rival, remarked out of fear and admiration, "The strength of Zhang Fei and Guan Yu combined is equal to an army of ten thousand soldiers!"
On to Opera Mask 22 Back to Opera Mask 20 Back to Chinese Opera Page 3