Mask are very important in Chinese culture. Masks are worn in operas and for celebrations such as the Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year. According to 123ChineseNewYear.com, Chinese masks can be made of many materials like metal, leather or paper and can depict people, animals or even gods. The type and colour of Chinese masks are very important in both New Year's celebrations and opera productions. Children can make paper masks to represent the many different styles of masks worn in China.
Bejing Opera Mask
Beijing Opera masks are used during productions to depict the characteristics of each character for the audience. A Beijing Opera mask can be made by printing either a blank or ready-to-colour template from the First Palette craft website (Reference 1) on card stock. Draw in features and colour the mask. Finish the mask by punching holes on either side of the mask, and looping rubber bands through the holes.Tuck the rubber bands behind each ear to wear the mask.
Dragons are mythical creatures that appear in Chinese culture from ancient to modern times. Dragons are symbols of good luck, power and strength. The dragon is the only animal in the Chinese zodiac that is a mythical creature, and a Year of the Dragon is considered lucky for everyone, according to ThinkQuest.com. Simply print one of the four templates, found at the Animals Jr. website (Reference 2) on paper, glue to sturdy cardboard and cut out. Add ribbons to the sides of the mask and an elastic string to tie around your head. Attach a long piece of fabric to the top and sides of the mask and invite your friends to form a long dragon for dancing.
Monkey King Mask
Chinese children of all ages know the story of the Monkey King. According to China-on-Site.com, the Monkey King is based on the true story of one monk's journey to India. A Monkey King mask can be made using a paper plate or thin cardboard. Print the monkey template pieces in colour or black and white if you wish to colour your own. The template can be found at the DLTK's Growing Together website (Reference 3). Cut and attach the pieces to the plate. Add a ribbon to tie the mask to your head, or add a large wooden craft stick at the bottom for a hand-held mask.
Animals are very important in Chinese culture, from the panda that has become an unofficial national symbol, according to the World Wildlife Federation, to the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and the good luck lion at Chinese New Year. Simple animal masks can be made by printing the templates on card stock; colouring the masks; and adding elastic string, ribbons, yarn or string. Children can wear their zodiac animal at New Year's, or they can wear their animal masks anytime for fun and play. The panda template can be found at Crafts.Kaboose.com (Reference 4), while other animal templates can be found at EnchantedLearning.com (Reference 5).