Kaohsiung Museum of shadow puppet
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Features of Shadow Puppets Flash

Now, let’s compare Taiwanese shadow puppets with Chinese shadow puppets and see how they differ.
Barbarian general
Chinese Shadow Puppets
With your first look, can you tell the special features of Chinese shadow puppets?
Lead female
First, their carvings are more delicate and the lines are more beautiful. One can easily tell that the puppets were made with delicate designs. Besides, puppets from different localities have their unique features.
Prince No-cha Riding the Clouds
For example, this “Prince No-cha Riding the Clouds” is made in the style typical to puppets from Shaanhsi. He is the major character in No-cha Stirs the Eastern Sea, a play rewritten based on the script of The Story of Fengshen pang. The puppet is made of cowhide. Take a look at the head. It has the face of a handsome young man. His headgear is quite complicated. Take notice of his shoes. They are not those of a young girl. The green leaves on his chest are mint leaves, which he uses to resurrect himself. Also, the flames behind him represent his wheels of fire. Only fairies have colored ribbons all around them like this. This puppet stands out for its delicate design and elegant colors.
Chinese shadow puppet handle
If we look at Luanchou shadow puppets, we see that their handles consist of 2-3 iron wires or iron wires on which a bamboo tube has been attached. This design allows an easier twisting of the puppet. Taiwan’s shadow puppets are harder to twist around.
Luanchou Shadow Puppets
Besides, Luanchou puppets are made of donkey hide, which is softer and for which reason it has to be coated with tung oil. This adds not just color and luster but also makes the puppet tougher.
Lead female
Let’s take a look at this female role puppet. Her face is designed differently from that of the Shaanhsi shadow puppet. The neck part and the area below the headgear show thick coatings of tung oil, which gives it a rather dark yellow tint.
Martial lead female
Older puppets will usually show darker colors because the applied tung oil has turned darker. Look at this martial female role puppet. Its tung oil color is darker.
Pig Man on the Cloud
Szech’uan shadow puppets adopt darker colors. For example, the colors of the clouds are richer than those in the Shaanhsi variety. Their lines and layouts also differ.
Small official in Szech’uan Shadow Puppet
This is the design for the God of Thunder in the Szech’uan shadow puppet theater.
God of Thunder in Szech’uan Shadow Puppet
This is the design for the God of Thunder in the Szech’uan shadow puppet theater.
Beard made of hair
Another special feature of the Szech’uan variety is the use of real hair to create mustache and beard.
Bannered military general of Hupei
The shadow puppets of Hupei are the most vibrant in color. This “bannered military general” is rich in colors and hues. It also differs with the puppets we have seen above in terms of its lines, layout and styles.
Guess which one is the Taiwanese version?
And which one is the Chinese?
Chinese and Taiwanese versions of Prince Ne-cha
After seeing the shadow puppets from Taiwan and China, let us again compare their differences. Here, we will look at the puppets for Prince No-cha. Guess which one is the Taiwanese version? And which one is the Chinese?
No. 42, Gangshan S. Rd.,Gangshan District,
Kaohsiung City 82060, Taiwan(Museum Hours)
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