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Four Dan Actresses

Four Dan actresses (四旦 or 四大名旦 or 四小名旦 or 四大花旦 or 四小花旦) is a Chinese term referring to the four most bankable young actresses from Mainland China in the early 2000s: Zhang Ziyi, Zhao Wei, Zhou Xun, and Xu Jinglei, then all in their 20s. The designation was first made by a Guangzhou Daily editorial in July 2000.[1] It gained widespread use in China following a series of interviews on Southern Metropolis Daily from December 2001 to January 2002.[2][3][4][5] As expected, the four actresses dominated Chinese cinema in the following decade with varying degrees of success.

Originally, a Dan is a male actor who portrayed a leading female character in Peking opera. The term "Four Dan" was first coined in the 1920s to refer to four extremely popular Dan actors: Mei Lanfang, Cheng Yanqiu, Shang Xiaoyun, and Xun Huisheng.


The Four Dan actressesEdit

Sometimes Li Bingbing and Fan Bingbing, two mainland actresses who had similar levels of success in the first decade of 2000s, were mentioned along with the group as "Four Dan and Two Bing" (四旦双冰).

New Four Dan actressesEdit

From 2005, the media and articles by publication companies have reported efforts to pick four new young actresses as the "New Four Dan actresses" (四小花旦).

2009 version by Tencent QQ:

2013 version by Southern Metropolis Daily:

Tang Yan and Zhao Liying, two mainland actresses who had similar levels of success post 2013, are usually associated with the new Four Dan Actresses of the 2013 list.

New Four Dan actresses of the "post-'90s" generationEdit

In August 2016, Southern Metropolis Daily conducted a survey among 173 million netizens and 110 professional media and industry insiders. After a series of voting, four actresses who were born after the '90s (90后四小花旦) were picked.[6]

New Four Dan actresses of the "post-'95s" generationEdit

In January 2019, four young actresses who were born after the '95s (95后四小花旦) were picked by CCTV.

Similar titlesEdit

In the early 1990s, Hong Kong's most popular male stars were collectively referred to as "Four Heavenly Kings" (Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung, Aaron Kwok and Leon Lai). Later Taiwan also introduced four male idols labelled "Four Younger Heavenly Kings" (Alec Su, Nicky Wu, Jimmy Lin and Takeshi Kaneshiro).


  1. ^ "综述:谁是中国影视界新"四大名旦"?(附图)" (in Chinese). Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  2. ^ ""四大名旦"访谈之章子怡:就是一个小女孩(图)" (in Chinese). Sina. 2000-12-19. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  3. ^ ""四大名旦"之周迅:这张俏脸让人一见难忘(图)" (in Chinese). Sina. 2000-12-27. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  4. ^ "四大名旦之徐静蕾:像邻家女孩 自信很漂亮(图)" (in Chinese). Sina. 2001-01-02. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  5. ^ "四大名旦访谈之赵薇:比小燕子更真实更可爱(图)" (in Chinese). Sina. 2001-01-17. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  6. ^ duqihong_gz, zhangweijian_gz. "郑爽周冬雨杨紫关晓彤 90后四小花旦新鲜出炉!_太平洋时尚网图库".