Friday, 14 December 2012

Shadow Play-Chinese Folk Arts Story

Shadow play, or lampplay (leather-silhouette show) originates in China, and then goes round the world, one of popular Chinese puppet shows for folks. The silhouette figures are made of animal skis or paper panels, operated to perform with the lighting, behind of white curtain. When performing, the artists operate the figures, telling stories with the local music and tune.

Shadow play is an ancient Chinese folk art and Beijing folks call it donkey leather-silhouette show (Lv Pi Ying), dating from the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 24)in Shaanxi, famous popular in Dynasty Qing in Hebei. The painted colors mainly refer to red, yellow, blue, green and black. In the old times when Medias are not developed such as movies and televisions, shadow play is once quite popular.

Regarding the legend of the beginning of shadow play, Ms. Li died of illness around more than two thousand years ago, who is the favorite wife of the emperor wudi of Han dynasty. He was drunken in the memory of his wife, even ignoring the state affairs. Minister Li Shaoweng came across a kid playing his doll and its shadow seems vivid on the ground one day. Li cut the Ms. Li’s figure with cotton fabrics, painting colors and fixed wood poles in figure’s feet and arms. When night falls, he set up a curtain and lighted candles, performing the shadow play. The emperor was quite glad to appreciate it, comforting him of his sick for Ms. Li. This love story is recorded in “History of the Han Dynasty”, regarded as the origins of shadow shows.

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