chapter  21
11 Pages

Chinese Shadow Play

WithLi Jie

Chinese shadow play, also called shadow puppetry, lamp shadow show, leather-silhouette show, or shadow puppet play, is a traditional folk art of Chinese opera. It absorbs artistic elements from such various traditional Chinese art forms as paper-cutting, painting, wood or stone craving, sculpture, poetry, music, drama, dancing, martial arts, acrobatics, and ventriloquism. Chinese Shadow Play has a profound research value for social, historical, and cultural studies. The complicated procedures and the elaborate techniques in making shadow puppets well demonstrate the superb craftsmanship of traditional Chinese artisans. Shadow play performance is a comprehensive and collaborative art. The artistic design of shadow puppets absorbs and incorporates the quintessential designs of Chinese pictograph, sculpture of Buddha, traditional opera facial make-up and costumes, and folk clothes in different ages. The necessary facilities for traditional shadow play performances are a sheet of screen, lights, shadow puppets, and props as well as musical instruments.