Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mr. Li making Xiaweidian shadow puppets at Mentougou Museum.

Mentougou is known as a Communist-era historical point in China, a rich area in coal extraction, but also it is famous as the place where one style of Beijing Shadow Puppets is made, known as Xiaweidian or Beijing west school.

Xiaweidian, a village in Mentougou district, is home to the west school and has a long tradition of carving and playing shadow puppets. -Beijing's "west school" style puppets are coated with water color, not the usual tung oil and offer a slightly different viewing experience-, experts say.

During Summer 2008 Mentogou Museum has an exhibition of 700 hundreds puppets from diferent parts of China, and the highlights of the exhibition are precisely those puppets from Beijing Xipai Xiaweidian School. (1)

Master Li, the last of a long lineage of puppeteers from Xiaweidian, showed to me how to do the final steps in the elaboration of two Xiaweidian Puppets I bought from him.

Mr. Li making Xiaweidian Shadow Puppets. Mentougou Museum, China. July 2008.

Mr. Li making leather shadow puppets

the same video in Vimeo

Mr. Li making "Xiaweidian" Shadow Puppets. Mentougou Museum. from Gustavo Thomas on Vimeo.

(1) There will be another post about the exhibition.

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