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Jiaxing shadow puppet show

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : Nov 1, 2019

Shadow puppetry - also known as shadow plays or light shadow plays - is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment using opaque figures made of hide or paper plates that are held before an illuminated backdrop to create the illusion of moving images. 

Originating in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24) ,  Shadow puppetry had its heyday during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The characters and performance skills are all exquisite, with the themes of plays including Chinese folk arts, opera, art and music.

Haining shadow puppetry, which has undergone over 800 years of evolution, has maintained the original and typical Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) style in terms of performing arts, vocals, modeling and stage design.

It was placed on the first batch of China's national intangible culture heritage, the area of human activities that includes sometimes ancient performance styles such as Chinese opera and arts and crafts.

In addition, as an important part of Chinese shadow puppetry, Haining Shadow puppetry was included on the world's intangible culture heritage list in 2011.


A shadow puppet master gives a performance. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]