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Chinese Folk Art
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The Shadow Figure  
The shadow figure originated from shadow puppet play or commonly known as the leather donkey shows in the old Beijing. Shadow puppet play is a form of folk entertainment in China which was highly popular with people long before the emergence of movies and TV. The puppet figures, cut out of animals’ leathers or cardboard, are held and moved on sticks behind the translucent screen onstage with the illuminating light to create the illusion of moving images. Accompanied with percussion and string instruments, as the puppet is manipulated by the puppeteers, the drama is unfolded, incorporating some dances and folk songs that depict the dramatized version of traditional tales and myths. The art of shadow play is an old traditional artistic culture, preserved as China’s cultural asset, which has been gradually introduced into many other counties since its ancient days, such as a few Arab countries, Turkey, Thailand, Japan, Britain, Italy and France. Its lively dramatized art form with idiosyncratic local flavors have fascinated a great number of foreign audiences who also warmly call it ‘Chinese shadow puppet’.
   
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