Create your very own shadow theater! Choose the animals and other silhouettes you want to show and adjust their size with your hands.
Article by N+1
3 min to read · May 24 2023
Wherever we go, we are always haunted by... a shadow. It does not exist by itself, but appears when something (or someone) blocks the source of light. For example, when we walk down the street and see our shadow, at that moment we are blocking the light of the Sun.
Such effects, which can be seen with the eyes, are called "optical" by physicists.
It turns out that a shadow is a place where light from a source does not directly fall. But why does this happen? The fact is that by its nature, light can only pass through transparent objects. Take for example a window: sunlight can easily penetrate through it into the room, as long as we have not closed the curtains.
A shadow can take many forms. If the light source is far away from the object, the shadow will be longer and lighter, and if it is close, it will be shorter and darker. Try changing the distance between the beam and your hands to see for yourself!
The construction, about which this article is written, is built on the principle of shadow theater — it is an ancient art, which is about 2000 years old. There is a sad but rather romantic legend about its appearance. The Chinese emperor Han-Wu-Сi had a beloved woman die. He was inconsolable: he was no longer interested in state affairs, he became unsociable and taciturn, locked himself in his chambers and did not go anywhere. The empire began to decline, and the courtiers found a way out of the situation.
One day, they called the emperor to the chamber of his beloved. When the emperor entered, he saw behind the curtain... the silhouette of the deceased. He spent twenty-four hours watching his beloved's shadow "live" behind the cloth, and it gave him hope that someday they would be together again. Thus emerged a form of visual art dating back to around two hundred years B.C. during the Han-Wu-Ci era.
Shadow Theater is not just a play of light and shadow, but a true art that can captivate audiences of all ages, teach them to see beauty in simple things, and even help them cope with the loss of a loved one.