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New exhibition combines Peking Opera and picture stories



Peony Pavilion's protagonist Du Liniang is featured in both a picture story book and a Peking Opera performance. An ongoing exhibition at the Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing House brings together the two unique cultural phenomena of China. CHINA DAILY

An exhibition at the Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing House has brought together two unique cultural phenomena of China-Peking Opera and lianhuanhua, a Chinese form of picture-story books.

Situated in a refurbished vintage garden house on Changle Road in downtown Shanghai, the publishing house is recognized as "the cradle of Chinese lianhuanhua", as many renowned artists used to work there.

The new exhibition consists of manuscripts, prototype pages and vintage editions from the publisher's collection that feature popular stories in Chinese opera art. The other part of the exhibition is presented by Shi Yihong, a leading Shanghai-based Peking Opera singer who specializes in female roles in the Mei Lanfang school.

"When I was little, my parents used to bring home many of these picture books. I actually grew up reading these. I learned many historical tales from such picture books," says Shi, who attended the opening of the exhibition.

Her contribution to the exhibition includes costumes, photographs and historical documents about the heritage of the Mei Lanfang school of Peking Opera.

"Some of the costumes and facial expressions in the books are even more intricate than what we have on the stage," she says. "I am thinking we could borrow their ideas. I believe these artists must have been dedicated lovers of China's opera art."


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