WORKMANSHIP: A example of rare Chinese shadow puppets. Photo Contributed
WORKMANSHIP: A example of rare Chinese shadow puppets. Photo Contributed

Rare shadow puppets saved from the fires of the revolution

DURING China's Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, Professor Shan De Liu's family went to great lengths to protect their collection of rare shadow puppets.

With its connection to religion and superstition, shadow puppetry had been banned by the government.

Many beautiful puppets were destroyed by officials.

But Shan's family buried and hid their shadow puppets, and they are now celebrated as rare cultural heritage items.

People have the chance to hear Shan tell these stories - and many more - at a public talk in Lismore tonight and Lennox Head tomorrow night.

Lennox Head woman Suzanne Rienits has organised Shan's visit.

She said she had been asking him to come to the Northern Rivers for more than 20 years and she was excited that he had finally agreed.

"This is a chance to hear some amazing stories about the lost art of Chinese shadow puppets," she said.

"They originated from the Tang dynasty in the eighth century and were cut out of animal hides by hand and then coloured.

"The craftsmanship is just incredible. Puppets were handed down from generation to generation.

Now in his 80s, Shan will share tales from his professional and private journeys along the legendary Silk Road, Tibet and Mongolia. Ms Rienits said he was a "living book".

The talks will also include a Chinese tea ceremony by the Calm Cuppa School.

Talks by Professor Shan De Liu at Lismore library tomorrow from 5.30pm; ph 6621 2464, and Lennox Head library, Friday 5.30pm, ph 6687 6398.



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