A day at the country



Last weekend we went to visit Tian xian and his family not far from Tianshan, 3 hours from Beijing. He has been my partner in making the shadow-puppets for a year now and I had never seen shadowplays in their true environment. Chinese shadowplay is traditionally a rural art. So this was a interesting trip. His whole family are into farming and puppets. Tian and his dad cuts, father also plays and mother paints them. A few years ago he started a program is a small school to teach small children this folk-art. Visiting this school was very touching. It was a saturday but everybody was there to meet the foreign shadowpuppet friends of Tian. Very old farmer have build a theatre in the school and they made special performance for us. It was so interesting to see how raw & hard core it was; Just one light bulb, as a light source, and a worn out dirty blanket that might have been well from before the revolution, as a screen. You can’t get more traditional then this! It was nice to see these old men totally absorbed by their art and very loud music. The voice was done by a man, who pinched his throat to get a higher female voice. Very high pitchy chinese music, a bit difficult for western ears…







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