Ningxiang shadow plays are usually performed by three to four people. The shadow puppets are made of cowhide, and the scene is lit with a lamp using vegetable oil and kerosene. During the performance, the performer controls the shadow puppets - called "Ding Zuo" or "Ding Tiao Zi" - and then the Hunan opera or flower drum opera will be performed. Mostly they will take place in order to reward gods or celebrate birthdays.
The prevalence of shadow puppets in Ningxiang can be traced back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Evolving from traditional shadow puppet performances, Ningxiang shadow play has formed its own characteristics through enriching its content and changing the techniques of expression. It has many traditional shows such as "Baotai Mountain" and "Xue Rengui's Campaign to the East".
Ningxiang shadow play performance [Photo/nxiang.net]