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  Shadow-play Workmanship  

  The production process of shadow pieces is complicated. Material of Datong Shadow is mainly yellow cattle fur. Yak and yellow cattle are the local cattle in Qinghai, while the yellow cattle fur is better for Shadow pieces compared with crisp quality of yak.


Dealing with fur:


  there are specifically several processes. The first step is to fade hair. The fur should be soaked in water three to five days to leach out microbial and blood elements, and then in the twenty-eighty-nine degree until bubbles and hair removal, and remove hair in the overall water. The second step is to stretch the skin. Tide all sides with ropes or heavy objects to stretch out the shape. The third step is to shovel the attached cortex to be thin. The fourth step is to polish the rough surface and to grind it to flatten transparent. Then the fur is done.




  First copy the pattern in accordance with design, and then draw contour lines with needles. It is called the bottom sample. Second, carve small holes of graphics with a knife. It is called carving skin. Then carve the other contour lines with a knife, and usually push the skin out. The third step is to color, using mineral pigments in old times, and now with watercolor pens, which have the transparent effect. It was the stain method to point and bleeding the color, so that it was stable and even. And now watercolor pens are usually used. But the painting should be dried to be stable. After drying, it comes to the skin. Take to skin pieces out, which are thin and easily loss. Then keep it dry itself naturally.


  Sew after carving completed. It is to rivet the shadows’ joints moving parts together with leather threads. The center of gravity should be identified to control it flexibly. To sew is to find out the appropriate connection points and to adjust again and again to the right. Then separate them and proceed to the next procedure.of the shadow.


  It is the last drying process for pieces of the shadow with high-temperature. Heat the two large bricks to 400 degree. Put one brick as the bottom, cover it with white cloth. Then put pieces on the white cloth, and cover them with other white cloth and the other brick. The heat will soft the leather again for flat easily. And according the dropping of temperature gradually, the pieces cool the shape themselves, and won’t easily warp after deformation normally.

    After baking deformation, sewing should be done again, with leather cord cross sections. Then the whole process is completed. Generally, it will take about 20 days from soaking to the last sewing. It can be described as time consuming. Now an average cost of one shadow is about 80 yuan.  
Xishan Middle School, Datong County, Qinghai Province
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