Shi Zhixuan, fondly called "Little Rock", is a three-year-old girl in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. After undergoing half year's training under He Shucheng, the "face-changing king of Guangxi", the little girl has a good command of changing four faces consecutively.
Face (or mask) changing skill, made famous by Sichuan Opera, to demonstrate sudden changes in the emotions of a character, requires heavy and quite a few costumes and paraphernalia. Shi has suffered abrasions on her neck - caused by the costumes - many a time. She comes out perspiring after every training session, her mother Wu Xiaoying says.
But the girl is still enthusiastic and a patient learner.
"She is artistically gifted. It has been only half a year of training and she has mastered several moves," says the "Little Rock's" teacher He Shucheng. In the past, the skill could be passed on or taught to only men. But Shi, given her talent, has become an exception.
Recently, Shi won the second prize at an annual national competition for students with artistic skills and was invited as the "angel face" for a show.
"Little Rock" trains whenever she has time. Off stage, she may be just a lovely little girl, but on stage, she performs like a master.