This framed artwork is a clay sculpture of Guan Yu, one of the most widely respected and worshiped characters from Chinese history.
Guan Yu (162~219) was a military general under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period in ancient China. One of the best known Chinese historical figures throughout East Asia, Guan Yu's true life stories have largely given way to semi-fictional ones, mostly found in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms or passed down the generations as folklore, in which his deeds and moral qualities have been much exaggerated.
Guan Yu is traditionally portrayed as a red-faced warrior with a long lush beard. While his beard was indeed mentioned in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the idea of his red face was probably borrowed from opera representation, where red faces depict loyalty and righteousness. Also according to folklore, Guan Yu's weapon was a guandao named Green Dragon Crescent Blade, which resembled a halberd and was said to weigh 82 jin (41 kilograms using today's standards). A wooden replica can be found today in the Emperor Guan Temple in Xiezhou County. He traditionally dons a green robe over his body amour, as depicted in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Beijing opera of China dates back to the year 1790. With a history of over 200 years, Beijing Opera, which originated in Beijing, is the operatic form commanding the biggest following. Beijing Opera combines music, acrobatic dance, and spectacular costumes to tell stories from Chinese history and folklore.
The costumes in Beijing opera are graceful, magnificent, elegant and brilliant, most of which are made in handicraft embroidery. Besides the costumes, the actors also painted their faces with colorful paints. The facial makeup has various designs of lines and colored patches painted on the faces of certain operatic characters.