Chinese masks are made from a wide variety of materials, which may include stones, metals, leather,cloth, paper and grass. The use of Chinese masks can be traced back to ancient Shamanic rituals during which the masks were used for exorcisms or for funeral rites. As of 2014, Chinese masks are used during Chinese New Year celebrations and theatrical performances, and they can even be used as decorative pieces.
Colorful Chinese masks appear prominently in a Chinese theater art performance called Bian Lian,which literally means "face changing." Bian Lian is part of the more general Sichuan opera, and it is highlighted with performers wearing brightly-colored costumes as they move to fast dramatic music. The performers wear colorful masks that change instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, head movement or wave of a hand.