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Details: Thus the custom of actors wearing masks began. Though not in general use nowadays, masks are still worn in some traditional operas, such as the local dramas performed by the Bouyei people of Xingyi, Guizhou Province. Such masks may be regarded as living fossils in the history of opera facial make-up. As Chinese dramatic art developed, the drawbacks of wearing masks became increasingly evident, for masks prevented the actors from showing their facial expressions. A vividly painted face, however, enables audiences to see expressions clearly even from a distance, a great advantage in the days when dramatic performances were usually staged in the open air before large crowds. So actors began to apply powder, ink, paint, and soot to their faces, creating the art of facial make-up.

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