This handmade shadow play puppet features the popular image of Qing Dynasty young lady from ancient drama and opera performance. The young girl with pretty mouth looks like a roseate cherry, a pair of eye brows shape as willow leaves, the beauty standard in ancient China. The snow flake pattern on the puppet is one of the popular patterns to show the extreme skills of the craftsman.
The girl braids her hair in two long plaits that represents her single state, whereas married women of the Qing Dynasty would wear hair in a bun. Lotus and red tassel adorn on the head of the girl. A long Chinese style unlined blouse, wide trousers, front of garment leaning to one side, flared cuffs and sleeves all show the traditional style of the Qing Dynasty.
The shadow play or leather silhouette play is a type of drama, which has its roots in China.
Shadow puppets are made of leather instead of wood for the simple reason that leather is much lighter, easier to manipulate and carry around. The trunk, head and limbs of a puppet are separately carved but joined together by thread to be manipulated. The leather puppets are painted with various colors to show their different qualities, kind or wicked, beautiful or ugly.
Our puppets are made purely by hand in shadow plays birthplace, Hua County in Shaanxi Province. Xue Hongquan, one of the best-known shadow play performer as well as puppet maker, is leading our workshop filled with the best artisans. The artisans still use the same traditional methods passed on for generations.