Overview Shadow Puppetry

Overview Shadow Puppetry


Shadow puppet performances are an old and traditional way of storytelling. Some researchers claim that its origin dates back to 200 BC in India and Andrah Pradesh. Others date back its origin to the 11th century in China, in the Han Dinasty. As for the chinese origin, there’s a legend that tells that when one of the concubines of the emperor died, and as he was devastated, the officers made a shape of the concubine, using donkey leather. Her joints were animated using pieces of the leather adorned with painted clothes. Using an oil lamp they made her shadow move, bringing her back to life. Shadow puppetry is also an old tradition, spread in East Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodja. And in later centuries, shadow puppetry spread to the Middle East, Mediterranean and Balcans. And became an important form of entertainment in Turkey and Greece. It arrived in France in the middle of the 18th century known as ‘ombres chinoises’. There’s a greek website that gives a detailed account of the history of shadow puppetry and the different types of traditions in the different countries. The Asian shadow puppets are pieces of art and in this short video clip one canwatch the making of a Thai puppet.

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