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Shadow play

Shadow play or shadow puppetry is an ancient art of storytelling and entertainment enjoyed by kids and adults all over the world. Traditional craftsmen make segmented figures out of animal leather, which can create an impression of moving humans and other objects. Joints are made out of light threading for flexible movements. These figures are then held between a light source and a translucent screen, the shadow of the figures is cast on this screen which is viewed by the audience from the other side. A variety of effects can be achieved by moving the puppets and the light source. A talented puppeteer can make the figures walk, dance, nod and laugh. The texts of the stories are sung along with musical effects created using instruments such as flutes, drums and gongs. These performances are mostly held outdoor after sundown and can last well into the night or a series of nights. They are often based on episodes from epic stories such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The shadow play drama originated almost 2000 years back, during the Han Dynasty, when the shape of the emperors dead mistress was recreated and her shadow was made to move bringing her alive, thus recovering the emperor from his devastated state. This old tradition of storytelling has a long history in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Nepal, India and Cambodia.