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)

View Gallery of Chengdu:


China’s capital is at its most magical early in the morning. Few cities have such a profound sense of history as Beijing. It whispers down the grand boulevards, cries out from its megaliths and monuments, echoes in its palatial courts. And despite the fact that Chairman Mao’s mausoleum now looks over the Colonel’s Kentucky Fried, nothing of the past.

Tiantan Park - Beijing - China
Tiantan Park – Beijing – China

Unlike its more sassy sister cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong, where an energized nightlife rocks into the wee hours, Beijing seemingly slumbers after 10. But, like most Chinese communities, its parks and plazas spring alive to greet the rising sun with tai chi and other sports, some I could recognize, others I don’t. We visited Tiantan Park early in the morning to see thousands of Beijingers starting the day with tai chi. Tiantan Park, hugely popular among locals as a venue not only for tai chi, but also for myriad of activities from ballroom dancing to croquet to Chinese martial arts, and as we experienced, massive opera singing activities as can be seen on the video we made this summer. So Tiantan park is an ethereal place to visit,especially in the gentle morning light when old folks are practicing their tai chi and qigong, opera singing and sword dancing. A place where Beijing can catch its breath from the relentless and perplexing change of recent years.

Vieuw Gallery Tiantan Park – Beijing – China

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