Bringing Chinese puppet art into American classrooms
Norah sabharwal, 3, learns to assemble a puppet when attending an online Chinese puppet demonstration on Thursday at a kindergarten in Portland, Oregon. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Under the instructions of the puppet artist Li Zhijie, students learned to make a simple puppet head (a panda) using common household items such as newspaper, toilet paper, tape and color pens.
Civilizations are enriched by exchanges and mutual learning, Chen said. He hopes the puppets could be a window for the students to know traditional Chinese culture, to understand China through puppetry and to fall in love with China.
In his opening remarks, Stephen Ying, vice president of Oregon China Council, said one could understand the Chinese culture through the art of puppets.
Learning about the culture enhances mutual-understanding, he said, adding, "the more we understand each other, then we can become good friends."
Chinese puppetry dates back thousands of years. The oldest puppets were probably used in religious ceremonies in ancient times as representations of gods and shamans. Eventually, puppet shows became a popular form of entertainment. Glove puppets developed in Fujian sometime between the 13th and 16th century.
In 2006, the puppet show and head carving of the Zhangzhou Puppet Troupe were included in the first batch of National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of China. Fujian puppet training was also selected in 2012 on the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices of UNESCO.
On Monday, students from The Potomac School in Virginia participated in a similar program co-hosted by China's Embassy in the US and Fujian Provincial Foreign Affairs Office.