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Chinese shadow puppetry

Updated: 2020-12-18 11:04:37

( Chinaculture.org )

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Langzhong shadow puppetry is an ancient performing art telling tales and anecdotes from local history. The puppets are known for their delicate hollowed-out patterns and beautiful appearances. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]

2011, Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Chinese shadow puppetry is a form of theatre acted by colourful silhouette figures made from leather or paper, accompanied by music and singing. Manipulated by puppeteers using rods, the figures create the illusion of moving images on a translucent cloth screen illuminated from behind.

Many elder shadow puppetry artists can perform dozens of traditional plays, which are orally transmitted or found in written form. They master special techniques such as improvisational singing, falsetto, simultaneous manipulation of several puppets, and the ability to play various musical instruments. Many puppeteers also carve the puppets, which can have between twelve and twenty-four moveable joints.

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