Chinese theater of shadows

Chinese shadow theater is one of the types of theatrical puppetry, the founder of Chinese drama. Shadow theater has 2000 years of history and was one of the most popular people in the theatrical genres.

How do puppet characters of the shadow theatre? How to give a presentation? The first doll is cut out of paper. The paper is thin, because the puppet turns out to be fragile and it is necessary to give strength. To do this, from tanned sheep, horse or donkey leather is cut exactly the same figure that fasten to the first paper. Because the material for most dolls is donkey skin, people, shadow theatre called “theatre of dolls of donkey skin”.

The technique of cutting out pieces borrowed from the art of folk paper cutting. The figures work like living. Height of doll is often 30 centimeters, but there are large, 70 centimeter. Figures movable, composed of several interconnected parts. Behind the screen the puppeteer controls the doll using a special steel rods, and the audience can see the shadows of puppets are projected onto a brightly lit screen. Gripping story, quirky movements of puppet characters to the accompaniment of traditional music and singing of the actor immerse the viewer into the wonderful world of imagination…

The basics of the performances of shadow theatre are usually taken from popular novels, tales, musical tales, legends, fairy tales, tales that are interesting and understandable to the Chinese audience, especially the peasants.

Nowadays, the emergence of new types of entertainment to the theatre of shadows as well as many other types of traditional folk art is threatened with extinction. In China are already talking about the need to make an application for the incorporation of shadow theater in the Register of world heritage of UNESCO in order to avoid the disappearance of this kind of Oriental art.

Fortunately, while contemporary film and television competing for audience in China continues to be an impressive group of Chinese folk artists who are planted annually on the stage of the theatre of shadows new flowers of creativity to develop and to preserve for posterity this wonderful ancient Chinese art that continue to be modern and new.

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