Hand shadow show is an ancient folk art. It derived shadow show, puppet show, and even the hand performing of Chinese operas. In the Sichuan Opera in Chengdu we had the privilege to see such a show.

Sichuan opera - Chengdu China
Sichuan opera – Chengdu China

China has an abundance of 1,300 local operas, Sichuan opera is one of the Chinese oldest local operas and is popular in Sichuan province and some regions of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces. It is the most significant and most interesting opera form in Southwestern China. As a stage entertainment, it conveys the idea of time and space to the audience through performances. The opera is characterized by its unique solo singing, refined acting, rich percussion and irresistibly funny comedians, Sichuan opera also displays its unique skills: the changing faces, spitting fire, and rolling light. Numerous Sichuan opera troupes are active throughout the province, both in the countryside and in the cities. The troupes in Chengdu are rate artistically top level. The face changing, or “bianlian” in Chinese, is an important intangible cultural heritage in China. Only a few masters have grasped this skill. They know how to change Sichuan opera masks in eye-blink period successively. As they flourish their arms and twist their heads, their painted masks change again and again.

Chéngdū (成都) is no great draw when it comes to major tourist sites – pandas excepted, of course – but many visitors find its laid-back pace and diversity of cultural scenes unexpectedly engaging. It could be its relaxing teahouse culture, with favourite local institutions serving the same brews across generations. Maybe it’s the lively nightlife, with a strong showing of local partiers bolstered by large student and expat populations that gather at craft beer bars and super-hip clubs. It might be the food: famous for heat, history and variety even in the cuisine-rich cultures of China; and very much a point of pride. It is, after all, Unesco’s first-ever City of Gastronomy. But who can say for sure? (from: Lonely Planet)

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