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Fabulous Fraudulence at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
   2014-06-06 10:04:30    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Luo Chun

A Bruce Lee replica knocks out a visitor at Madame Tussauds Beijing. The Beijing franchise of the London wax museum opened on May 31. Photo taken May 4, 2014. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/William Wang]

It seems that every year, Beijing attracts more and more celebrities to its heart, whether Johnny Depp is promoting his latest flick or Kobe Bryant is shooting some hoops. But now, it looks like a large number of Hollywood (and China) A-Listers have permanently set roots into the Chinese capital. If you are bent on posing with the stars, then Madame Tussauds Wax Museum will be high on your list. The wax figures on display at the new Qianmen wax museum are of the highest quality to be found, with each face crafted in London before being shipped to Beijing.

Considering that several Madame Tussauds Wax Museums have already opened in China (even Wuhan's got one), the Beijing May 31st opening was surely an eventuality. A long, wiggly line up announced its arrival alongside the Qianmen tram tracks.

Like all Madame Tussauds, the wax figures on display here are created in the original London Museum. Each figure takes months to assemble, employing OCD-like attention to detail: castings are taken of people's teeth, and every hair is inserted by hand; that's what it takes to create a convincing wax version of sultry Lady Gaga.

Back in the 18th century, Madame Tussaud herself was a bit obsessive. During the French Revolution, she dug through dead bodies in search of severed heads to study. That seems appropriate, as her London museum's ever popular Chamber of Horrors would depict scenes of torture and mangled bodies. Unfortunately, the Beijing wax museum contains no Chamber of Horrors, so those looking for icky thrills will have to go elsewhere.

Every version of Madame Tussauds has its local flavor, and the Spirit of Beijing has notable figures like Peking Opera star Mei Lanfang and astronaut Yang Liwei. A focus on the Dragon Boat Festival seems a bit out of place, as that's more of a southern tradition.

Refreshingly, the wax figures are never tucked away behind a glass barrier. Lady Gaga, Bruce Lee and Barack Obama are all too happy for you to snuggle up and sniff their waxy skin. The museum even provides an impressive selection of props to pose with, from wigs to MJ glitter gloves to a full drum kit with guitars. Quite a number of displays invite visitors to interact, keeping everyone entertained.

Most of the faces you'd expect to see are represented, though a few faces are represented for their cultural, as opposed to "celebrity," statuses. The museum is divided up into sections, such as A List Party, Sports, and World Leaders. Conspicuously absent are any Chinese leaders. Perhaps President Xi Jinping's busy schedule prevented him from coming down for a mold casting.


Entrance Fee: 170 yuan

Getting there: From Qianmen subway station, walk 200 m south down the Qianman plaza. The museum is on the left.

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