Saturday, 5 June 2021

As A Kid,

I sometimes tried making hand shadows,

basically using your hands and fingers I was able to make a passable duck or dog that by moving my fingers appeared to open its beak/mouth, but I had never seen a guide of how to achieve the effect, until now,

here is a short guide to shadow puppetry with a little help from Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858), 

the ukiyo-e artist, who is best known for his poetic woodblock prints of the Tōkaidō and views of Edo, also created an instructive series of omocha-e, or toy pictures intended for kids, that demonstrates how to twist your hands into a snail or rabbit or grasp a mat to mimic a bird perched on a branch,

for myself I used a bedroom wall, but Utagawa Hiroshige uses a translucent shoji screen, the clever figures range in difficulty from simple animals to sparring warriors and are complete with prop suggestions and written instructions for making the creatures move, above are some prints of the eight-figure chart shown, which Hiroshige released in 1842, are available from Flashbak, and you can explore a massive archive containing thousands of his works on The Minneapolis Institute of Art’s site, it does seem strange that back in the 1950s kids comics did not print a guide to shadow puppetry, but there it is, here is one now.

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