The Importance of Shadow Play to Chinese Culture
And the Development of Film History
Being a Chinese student, I'm really proud to see one of our culture’s - ‘Shadow Plays’ displayed in the London Film Museum. It makes me think of my childhood memories; my grandmother use to hold my hand and lead me to the park and watch the Shadow Play. I still remember how impressed I was when I watched one for the first time. An old man with a white beard yelled at people to catch their attention, and then the show started. I was little at the time, I remember that those tiny paper characters somehow started to move and talk with each other on the screen... It was magic for me and I was addicted to it. Then time flowed by, and I started to watch movies in the theatre, and slowly, the Shadow Play had been left in my memory. However, when I saw the introduction on the board in the London Film Museum, it called up my memory again, and this time I start to understand the technique of the ‘Magic Show’.
Approximately 2000 years ago. The art of Shadow Play was founded by Sima Qian of the Han Dynasty and fully developed in the Qing Dynasty. It's also called the "Chinese Lantern Show". The characters were of paper or lather. People used lantern to backlight the characters so they would show up on a white board in front of the audience.
I think it is a very important part of traditional Chinese culture because there are several traditional Chinese materials in the show. For example, the narrator of the show always narrates using the Beijing Opera, which is the quintessence of Chinese culture. The color and style of the clothes worn by the characters are also traditional. Women always have figures of flowers, grass, clouds or phoenix on their clothing and men usually have figures of dragon, tigers and water, they show the woman's softness and man's power.
I also found that the technique used in the Shadow show is more like a complete film through manual work. It...
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