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Shadow Puppet

MOA: University of British Columbia

3338/15 a-c

Zhang Guolao, one of the Eight Immortals, shadow puppet character from "Journey to the West" with separate head (part b) and membranophone fish drum (part c). He has a cutout face, which is heavily lined. He has a long white beard, and wears a scarf(?) on his head. His robe is a deep blue-green, with circular motifs in black, and outlined in red. He wears black shoes with three red decorations down the side, and a red pompom at the toe. Limbs jointed with fibre at the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hips. Operated by three rods. The membranophone is a long piece of orange-yellow bamboo with dried fish skin stretched over one end. Two smaller rods with green cloud-like feet extend from the base of the bamboo. There is a small loop for the puppet's fingers.

  • Narrative

    The clothing is indicative of an older male scholar or other learned individual. Based on a real-life person. He was a learned magician, and medicinal herb and qigong master. His accessory is a membranophone fish drum (a bamboo tube with two iron mallets inside that make a vibrating 'noise').


  • Type of Item puppet
  • Culture Chinese
  • Material cow skin, fibre, bamboo grass, steel metal, watercolour paint, lacquer
  • Measurements height 58.0 cm, width 8.5 cm, depth 1.0 cm (overall) height 11.5 cm, width 2.8 cm, depth 0.1 cm (part c)

  • Creator Lu Family
  • Previous Owner Lu Family
  • Received from Lu Family, Museum of Anthropology Exhibitions Budget

  • Made in Tangshan

  • Creation Date during 2018
  • Ownership Date before December 21, 2018
  • Acquisition Date on December 21, 2018

  • Condition excellent
  • Accession Number 3338/0015 a-c