Object of the Day

Chinese rod puppet – lion

The history of shadow puppetry in China goes back more than 2000 years. The story believed by most is that during the Han Dynasty Emperor Wu lost his favorite concubine to an illness. He missed her terribly and afterwords lost the desire to rule his empire. One day a minister happened to see children playing with dolls in the street and noticed how the dolls cast vivid shadows. The minister, amazed with this discovery, decided to make a cotton replica of the concubine and painted the replica. Later that night the minister used the replica to act out a puppet show and the emperor took to the show with much delight. Thus starting the art that is the shadow puppet.This shadow puppet acquired by the Museum of Texas Tech University was a gift from Mrs. Arthur P. Black. This shadow puppet is in the form of a Chinese lion and different hues of red, orange, and green. Most Chinese shadow puppets are made out of donkey or ox leather and treated so that they are translucent enough to let light through. This shadow puppet ,as with most shadow puppets, has joints where rods attach so that the puppet can be moved. However, the rods for this puppet are missing.
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Object of the Day

Black Cotton with White Polka Dots Fandango Dancer’s Costume

This full-skirted, ruffled dress in the Ethnology Collections of the Museum of TTU was used as a costume for Fandango dancing.  Fandango is a form of Flamenco Spanish dance, and is the main folk dance of Portugal.  It is traditionally accompanied with guitars, castanets and hand-clapping.  Fandango is performed by two dancers (boy and girl, boy and boy, or girl and girl), in which the dancers alternate turns and attempt to out-do the other with more eye-catching feet transitions.  This costume is from Barcelona, Spain.  A red scarf attaches at the back, and ties around the waist in front.  The ankle length skirt is made of 5 layers of ruffles edged in green braid.  Underneath a full, red, organdy petticoat is made of four layers of ruffles, trimmed with narrow double ruffles.