from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The use in theatrical performances of marionettes, generally cut out of flat pieces of leather representing persons and scenery of theatrical plays, the shadows of which are thrown upon a screen. The shadow-play is found in China, the Malay Archipelago, and all over southern and western Asia. It is also known in Egypt, Turkey, and eastern Europe.
  • n. A theatrical performance played with figures, the shadows of which are thrown upon a screen.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Hong Kong-born artist Paul Chan is represented by his hypnotic, shadow-play film "4th Light" (2006), in which household objects drift eerily upward as if in an underwater debris field.

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  • There's no need to say much about English National Opera's first staging of Handel's Radamisto, transparently directed by David Alden, precisely designed by Gideon Davey and lit with skilful shadow-play by Rick Fisher.

    Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of Venezuela; Benjamin Grosvenor, LSO; Promised End; Radamisto

  • At night here, where there is no electricity, perfect darkness falls, and everything becomes a shadow-play of barely visible flickers.

    Kidnapped, Raped, Married: The Extraordinary Rebellion of Ethiopia's Abducted Wives

  • Whole communities -- with all their social, political, cultural and family networks -- gutted by the heedless flight of capital to cheap labor (and slave labor) markets abroad, and by the dissolution of an embodied economic life into the shadow-play of high finance, the ghostly manipulation of numbers that produces nothing of value except gargantuan profits for a very few.

    Savvy to a Fault: Coming to Terms With Imperial Power

  • Sufi Islam teaches instead that the realm of Allah is wholly separate and spiritual and nothing to do with the shadow-play of mere mortals.

    Johann Hari: Meet the Ex-Jihadis

  • I wonder if she came out to Hollywood with a dream... and as I watched the young lady in question practicing bedroom gymnastics, suddenly I started to see her as a little girl, a real human being and not just a shadow-play on the screen.

    The Green Door is Closed

  • However, families and children of all ages will certainly enjoy two rooms on the ground floor: "the family forum," a kid-friendly art room, where children can shadow-play and decorate vases, thereby learning about the forms and variety of Greek vases, as well as "the Timescape room," a clever interactive exhibit that places the Getty Villa and its holdings of Greek, Roman and Etruscan art in historical context.

    Tom Teicholz: The Getty Villa: The 'Wow' Factor

  • Their shadow-play on the sloping walls as light passes through is beguiling.

    Daniel Libeskind Opens

  • An Enlightened being sees the things of this world as shadow-play, is not attached to winning or losing, or the rightness and wrongness of things.

    Archive 2007-02-01

  • Eva Green wasn't just a potential conquest and the movie's opening wasn't just an excuse to use blue-screened shadow-play images of naked women fellating guns.

    Bond, James BoooOOAAAGHHH!!


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