Jinan shadow puppeteer brings the art form closer to life

(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2022-06-09

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Li Juan performs shadow puppet. [Photo/Jinan Daily]

Li Juan, a fifth-generation inheritor of Jinan shadow puppet, is working to promote the innovation of the traditional art form and trying to integrate the technique into modern society.

This year, Li collaborated with KFC by assisting in the renovation of Jinan's first shadow puppet-themed KFC restaurant.

"We used shadow puppet components on the walls, offering customers a place to snap photos with shadow puppets," Li explained. "We also aim to include a QR code on the children's products so that kids can learn about shadow puppets by scanning the QR code."

Shadow puppet has a 2,000-year history in China as an ancient traditional art form. Li learned puppet performance methods and skills from her grandfather when she was a child in the 1980s.

To promote the traditional art form, Li introduced shadow puppet at schools in 2007. Now many schools have opened shadow puppet courses and integrate the art form with traditional Chinese culture of filial piety and fables into shadow puppet.

Li has made innovative styles, content and creative shadow puppets based on popular animated films, such as Peppa Pig, to cultivate students' interest in shadow puppet.

Li said that if shadow puppet wants to develop, it should strengthen innovation and be integrated into society. She also plans to organize a female shadow puppet team, which will be the first of its kind in China to promote the art form on an international stage.