2010-11-05

Do you know China Shadow Play?


Traditional Chinese Shadow Play

Shadow play is not a Chinese specialty, there are shadow plays in other countries as well. However, do you know the shadow play or shadow puppetry is what kind of play?

It is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment using opaque figures in front of an illuminated backdrop to create the illusion of moving images.

In Taiwan, the shadow play was developed from the Chaochow(a county in Guangdong province, China) school of shadow puppet theatre, it was called ‘leather monkey show’ generally.

Chaochow Leather Monkey Show

Older puppeteers estimate that there were at least a hundred shadow puppet troupes in southern Taiwan in the closing years of the Qing. Traditionally, the eight to 12-inch puppet figures, and the stage scenery and props such as furniture, natural scenery, pagodas, halls, and plants are all cut from leather.

In France, although at the beginning the shadow play was spread from China in the past, but when it was added with their local characteristics, this kind of performance immediately become a type of authentic French Art.

The shadow play began to spread to Europe in the mid-18th century, when French missionaries in China took it back to France in 1767 and put on performances in Paris and Marseilles, causing quite a stir. In time, the Ombres chinoises (French for "Chinese Shadows") with local modification and embellishment, became the Ombres fran├žaises and struck root in the country.

Silhouette Animation

Now in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, these countries all have the tradition of shadow theatre. While Germany pioneered the silhouette animation, this new type shadow play used the same puppet as traditional shadow play, and filmed it frame-by-frame.

* Original address of this China gift post: China Gift and Fine Arts & Crafts in China

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