The Chou has a white square drawn around the nose. It was said
that the Emperor Tang Minghuang enjoyed watching opera tremendously
and he would sometimes take on a role himself. One day, he got
tired of playing the role of an emperor all the time. So he
decided that it would be refreshing to play the role of a clown
and painted a white square around his nose. From then on, this
form of face mask came to be known as the "Beancurd Face"
and was passed down to the generations. As the Emperor had played
the Chou role before, this role gained respect among the opera
troupes. In fact, before every performance, the actor playing
a Chou would have to touch all the make-up colours before anyone
can use them.
Role : Chou
both the Chou and Jing characters are normally played by the
male actors, they fall into categories separate from the Sheng
because of the characteristics peculiar to each other.
Hokkien Kong Huay XiangOpera Troupe
Chou is always the clown of the show. The character speaks in
normal range in the most informal speech of all the characters.
The white patch of paint around the actor's eyes and nose identifies
the chou or comedian.
Depending on the type of character, he may have various black
markings as well. Most often stupid and amusing, the chou can
be quite serious and malevolent. A military chou is a lowly
soldier who performs acrobatic stunts. A civilian chou includes
the jailer, servant or merchant whom the leading actor has dealings
Role : Chou
Unlike the male chou, the female chou does not have the
white patch of make-up around the nose. Instead simple
make-up exaggerates her features.
Picture source: Hokkien Kong Huay XiangOpera Troupe