A Peking opera actor having a cigarette 吸煙的京劇演員

The particular magic of Peking Opera was conjured from a host of conventions that, for centuries, carried audiences far beyond the noisy, crowded theatre at the makeshift stage beside a village temple. A single gesture had the power to transport an audience to a vast plain where a general awaited the advance of his foes. Pure realism was shunned; it was sheer theatricality, and a rich repertoire of symbolic gestures, that allowed the story to unfold.
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