--- SEARCH ---
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies
China Post
China Air Express
Hospitals in China
Chinese Embassies
Foreign Embassies
Golfing China
Construction Bank
Bank of China
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Travel Agencies
China Travel Service
China International Travel Service
Beijing Youth Travel Service
China Tours
China National Tourism Administration

Shadow Play Carried on in Shenzhen
People who have lived in Shenzhen for many years may not know where the Nanshan Folk Culture Art Gallery is. Dialing 114 for directory assistance isn't much help as the gallery is not listed. Yet, according to Long Hui, executive curator of the gallery, the gallery stores the largest collection of leather shadow puppets in China.

Long says that the Nanshan Folk Culture Art Gallery, which is located within the Nanshan Recreation and Sports Center and was founded in 1997, owns more than 40,000 leather shadow puppets. Most of the puppets are from the personal collection of Zhao Shutong, a famous sculptor, leather shadow puppet collector and co-founder of the gallery.

The gallery, which opens five days a week from Monday to Friday, is open to public free of charge. On exhibition are many precious shadow puppets made from buffalo and donkey hide. Since the 300-square-meter gallery obviously cannot display all of the puppets, quite a large number of Zhao's puppets are currently kept in Beijing.

Shadow play, an ancient form of entertainment in China, has been widely referred to as the forerunner of modern film. Originating in the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D. 24) and prosperous in the Song (960-1279) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties in the north of China, the genre has told numerous traditional stories to generations of Chinese.

Shadow performance art is a combination of drawing, sculpting and performing that makes excellent use of light and shadow.

First, the puppet maker cuts a buffalo or donkey hide in intricate patterns according to the drawing, paints them on both sides, irons and finally binds them. The whole procedure for making a quality leather shadow puppet takes about one to two days.

As to the performing, the performers hold the "actors"or "actresses" on the stage behind a white screen which is backlit so that the audience can see the mysterious shadows of the puppets on the screen. Behind the stage, a musical band plays folk music and actors and actress tell the stories through songs and dialogues.

With the advent of modern entertainment, this unique form of folk entertainment is on the decline. But one can still find many fans both at home and abroad. The Nanshan Folk Culture Art Gallery once organized a shadow play, which attracted thousands of spectators, who even wanted to have a try at staging a performance themselves.

With an eye to carrying on this traditional art, the gallery is preparing to develop it into a cultural industry. They plan to make, sell and appraise leather shadow puppets and organize shadow plays in the city’s bars, teahouses and restaurants.

(Southcn.com January 27, 2003)

Beijing Shadow Plays on the Verge of Extinction
Chinese Shadow Play--Precursor of Modern Cinema--Experiences a Revival
Local Handicrafts Attract Visitors
Old Man Teaches Children Shadow Play
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688