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Chinese Shadow Play Becomes UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Date: 2011.12.01 Editor: Evelyn Shi

Chinese shadow play, a traditional Chinese folk art, has been added to the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. It is recognized that shadow play spreads knowledge, promotes cultural values and entertains the community, especially youths.


Chinese Shadow play is a kind of drama in which paper and leather made silhouettes are projected onto a white screen. The shadow play silhouette is usually made of clean cowhide or donkey skin, with hair removed and colored by five pure watercolors of red, yellow, green, light green and black.


The players' skills of simultaneously manipulating several silhouettes, improvising vocal songs and playing various musical instruments are handed down through families and troupes.