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Cantonese opera tiger costume, to be worn with mask, 2967/52. Costume is a cotton jumpsuit, open at the front to the waist with gold-toned metal button closure. Legs are wide, and the crotch is dropped with a hole in the back possibly for attaching a tail. Patterns have been stenciled onto the hemp: regularly spaced groups of three wavy lines, concentric wavy circles, and down the spine a series of circles with radiating rays. Uneven lines decorate the cuffs at wrists and ankles.

History Of Use

Tiger costume used in an act to exorcise a new stage.

Iconographic Meaning

Costume used for the drama: Ji Baihu (White Tiger Worship). Designed to harness the power of the fearsome White Tiger deity, performed to tame, expel or ward off evil spirits and negative energies, reserved for sites that require purification, such as a new theatre or a performance site that is being used for the first time by a touring troupe. As the “king of beasts,” the White Tiger rules over the underworld where demons, ghosts, and evil spirits reside. Associated with the yin principle, their domain encompasses the realm of the feminine, darkness, water, mystery, danger, the ancestral spirits, and death. This drama has no dialogue and is performed by two martial performers for the deities: White Tiger and Xuan Wu (the Dark Warrior).

Item History

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