Tan Xinpei (23 April 1847 – 10 May 1917) was a Chinese Peking opera artist who specialized in sheng roles. A disciple of Cheng Changgeng, Tan Xinpei was undoubtedly the most important Peking opera performer of his generation. Some of his audio recordings have survived. He was also the only actor in China's earliest film Dingjun Mountain (1905).

Tan Xinpei
Traditional Chinese譚鑫培
Simplified Chinese谭鑫培

More than 40 of his family members have, over seven generations, worked as Peking opera performers,[1] including his son Tan Xiaopei, grandson Tan Fuying, great-grandson Tan Yuanshou, and great-great-grandson Tan Xiaozeng.[2]

"Thirteen Masters of the Tongzhi and Guangxu Reigns" (同光十三絕), a late Qing dynasty painting by Shen Rongpu (沈容圃). Tan Xinpei is 2nd from right, dressed in the role of Huang Tianba.

In popular cultureEdit

In the 1993 TV series Niu Zihou and Fu Lian Cheng (牛子厚與富連成), Tan Xinpei is portrayed by Peking opera artist Li Fuchun (李甫春). In the 2000 film Shadow Magic, the character Tan Linmei is clearly based on Tan Xinpei. He is played by Peking opera artist Li Yusheng (李玉声). In the 2005 film Dingjun Mountain (定軍山), Tan Xinpei is portrayed by his great-grandson Tan Yuanshou, Tan Fuying's son and a notable Peking opera artist in his own right.


  1. ^ Xu 2012, p. 71.
  2. ^ Mackerras 1997, p. 8.
  • Mackerras, Colin (Spring 1994). "Peking Opera before the Twentieth Century". Comparative Drama. 28 (1): 19–42. doi:10.1353/cdr.1994.0001. JSTOR 41153679.
  • Xu Chengbei (2012). Peking Opera. Translated by Chen Gengtao. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-18821-0.
  • Mackerras, Colin (1997). Peking Opera. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-587729-2.