FIRST SATURDAY PDX ASIAN LECTURE SERIES "Exploring Hell Tales from Sichuan in Chinese Shadow Theater"
Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 9:30am


Dec 2, 2017

Sichuan Shadow Theater: Messages from the Hell Courts 

Presenter:  Mary Hirsch

Date: Saturday, December 2, 2017

Time: 9:30 - 11:00 am

Place: PSU, Academic & Student Recreation Center (ASRC), Rm 230,
           1800 SW 6th Ave, Portland 97201


Shadow Theater is a type of regional opera once popular throughout China.  With brilliantly colored puppets backlit on a screen, troupes of puppeteers set up stages and performed fantastic tales accompanied by singers and musicians.  In Sichuan province, traditional shadow shows entertained both rural and urban audiences well into the 20th century.  Of the hundreds of plays, many popular ones involved journeying through Hell, envisioned as a bureaucratic court system that was amazingly similar to the imperial administrative structure for enforcing social justice.  A unique shadow theater collection from Chengdu exemplifies this journey, revealing how popular beliefs intersect with traditional entertainment.  

To gain a sense of this art form, Mary Hirsch will bring a selection of puppets to life during the program.


First Saturday PDX is a monthly program featuring lectures and presentations on art, architecture, gardens and historical culture of China and East Asia, highlighting connections with the Pacific NW.  

View the 2017-18 Program Schedule >

First Saturday PDX
Continuing Education Series
Chinese Culture, Arts and History


Institute for Asian Studies