• Chris McMillan

The world's a stage for mentally disabled young puppet artists


23rd August 2020

The world's a stage for mentally disabled young puppet artists

By Li Qian

The story of "Journey to the West"

A group of young, mentally disabled artists are wowing audiences with their heritage-listed shadow puppetry shows.

Aged from 13 to their early 20s, they performed the shadow puppetry, known as piyingxi, at Shanghai Great World last Friday.

Nana, who suffers from autism, played the Monkey King in the performance of the well-known story “Journey to the West,” in which the Monkey King steals ginseng fruit, rarely seen baby-like fruit that makes people who eat them immortal.

“I’ve practiced it for a long time," she said. "It’s hard at the beginning but later I started to enjoy it. It’s fun."

Shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling. Originating in the royal court about 2,000 years ago, it became popular in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) and Song Dynasty (960-1279).



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