Sheng, dan, jin and chou are the four main characters of the Peking Opera. Four types of actors enacting respectively authoritative male roles as the old man, the young man, the master in martial artes (sheng); female roles as the humble and gentle woman, the vivacious and malicious woman, the woman with a martial aspect and the old woman (dan); male roles with "painted faces" as strong and heroic generals (jin); comic roles that may be both feminine or masculine (chou).
During their roman stopover for the International week of the Confucius Institute - the institution established by the Chinese Ministry of Education to spread the Chinese language and culture all over the world - some young actors belonging to the Shanghai Art Academy performed three shows (Day of the Peking Opera) to let Rome's audience familiarise with the main features of this kind of theatre.
The Peking Opera actors strongly impressed the public for their ability to perform the extreme symbolization of their roles and actions on the stage: despite the fact that their costumes and their make up, the music and the set were definetely far from the Western sensibility and imagery, they deeply moved the audience's emotions. In Jungian terms The Peking Opera is a kind or archetypal theatre in which the common human experiences and their specific cultural connotation were showed together.
Jung states that true art speaks to everybody with primordial images and with thousand voices (C.G. Jung, Ueber die Beziehung der analytischen Psychologie zum dichterischern Kunstwerk. GW 15, parr. 97-132 ): encountering the Peking Opera is defenitely an experience as such. The actors let the public feel the essential level of human experiences and the specificity of the Eastern cultural forms: a way to fulfill the path of psychic integration that Jung called "individuation process" also throught the encounter with the world.