World Heritage in China

Chinese shadow puppetry

Updated: Jul 29, 2018 Print
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Shadow puppetry is performed to honor traditional Chinese culture. [Photo provided to]

Chinese shadow puppetry, also known as "shadow play" and "lamp shadow show", is a form of traditional Chinese folk drama in which colorful silhouette figures made of leather and paper are manipulated by artists.

The artists behind the screen also need to tell the stories in local popular tunes while manipulating the puppets. With the addition of colloquial drums and string music, puppetry with different distinctive features was formed.

Puppetry was first created in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC -- AD 24) and became popular in the Tang (618-907) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The skills are passed down within families, in troupes, and from master to pupil.

Being a carrier of China's cultural history, social beliefs, oral traditions and local customs, the art form spreads knowledge, promotes cultural values and entertains the community.

It was selected into the World Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2011.


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