Origins of shadow theatre or shadowed figures
Its history has a presence in the Far East during the second-century BC.C; Emperor Wudi had fallen in love with a young woman named Li, who died and left the emperor sad and his responsibilities as ruler began to lose attention.
The story goes that one of the emperor’s assistant ministers during one of his walks through the kingdom saw a child playing with a doll, whose shadow cast on the ground brought the doll to life. Motivated by this vision, the minister commissioned the servants to make a doll reminiscent of Li’s figure, in order to encourage the emperor.
The figure, created with wood and coloured silk, was presented to the emperor, surrounded by an illusion recreated from oil lamps and curtains. The shadow that was managed to project reminded the young woman, causing the emperor a great commotion, as if the spirit of the girl was present. So it is said that since then shadow theatre became popular in China.
Subsequently, the expansion of the Mongol territories made this new tradition adapted and crossed borders, reaching Europe and with the passage of time managed to be known throughout the world. Even in 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) granted it recognition as an intangible cultural heritage.
We leave you some images that can help you recreate this incredible technique.
Basic Level of shadows with the hands (animals and more)
You can start with the classic Claudio rooster, a panther or even a cute kitten with the help of a few solid spaghetti.
The next Advanced level (mixes, people and more)
It is to use the gaps of light that are between your fingers and the position of your hands, some of them will totally challenge your flexibility and coordination. Practice will make you become a shadow artist.
Don’t forget to upload photos when you try, it will be fun and kids love to interact.
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