Lee Man Mao

Lee Man Mao (? - 1858), Heshan (Guangdong) native, born in an Opera dynasty, learnt plays and traditional Operatic method from childhood. Oral tradition states he was a master of "Weng Chun County White Crane Boxing" skills, and very good at the art of "Attack and Defence". He was a famous secondary painted face role in Foshan Phoenix Troupe (Feng Huang Yi), and it is believed he was the Props room master at some point at the King Fa Wui Goon, near the end of Daoguan and beginning of Xianfeng of Qing Dyansty. He was physically strong and robust, with a voice like a large bell, skilled at sword and martial technique. He regarded low the fortune and high the personal loyalty, full of knightly spirit and anti-oppression thoughts.He was good at such roles as Zhang Fei in Reed Catkin Bay and Wang Yanzhang in Wang Yanzhangs Boating. Unrestrained, Just and Fearless of might, he won the respect from other Cantonese Opera artists.

In 1854, Lee Man Mao and Chen Kaihe, the leader of Guangdong Tiandi Assembly, rose up in Foshan and other places, due to mistreatment by the local Qing officials and high taxation. The soldiers, wearing elaborate opera costumes , as well as the late arivers who wore red muffle, were called the “Red Muffle Army”. This may be what the name "Hung Bun Gui", represents. Lee Man Mao led the Red Boat “Three Armies” (Wen Tiger, Meng Tiger and Fei Tiger) into fighting in Guangdong and Guangxi, captured Xuzhou and Liuzhou and set up Dacheng State, and Lee Man Mao was called “Pingjing King”. The rebels issued coins and laws. The insurrection by Lee Man Mao gave an important attack on Qing Dynasty, remarkable in Chinese history, but especially in opera history.


  • Foshan Museum
  • Foshan Committee