Little puppeteers add vitality to ancient folk art

Updated: 2014-11-13 15:13

By Jiang Wanjuan(

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Little puppeteers add vitality to ancient folk art

Li Ming, founder of shadow puppetry performing troupe The Little Ants. [Photo provided to]

At the same time, very few young people are interested in learning shadow puppetry, a skill that takes time and devotion but does not promise a bright future.

But for Li and Yang, shadow puppetry has become a career that to them is worthy of a lifetime.

Promoting folk art in a modern city in no easy job, and Li feels relieved that the most difficult time, when they first started, has passed. Several times, the troupe suffered severe financial crises and had no money to pay the staff.

The situation for The Little Ants has gotten much better after shadow puppetry was listed as a world-class cultural heritage in 2011. Li's small business has been boosted, as well as the team's confidence. "I myself alone might be too small to pass on the heritage," said Yang. "But I will do my own best to carry on what I am doing."

The young troupe also has used their creativity and modern sense to attract a wider audience, including children and young people. Through the Internet, they are able to give the traditional art a modern twist, by adapting the latest cartoon characters, music and stories into their plays.

"My dream is to continue promoting shadow puppetry and providing more job opportunities to little people, especially those from the rural areas," said Li. "I hope more people will understand shadow puppetry through us, and notice that we little people are able to do something great too."