Novel Hand Shadows: Dog & Rabbit

Above: Imagination at Play, January 20, 2020

“Novel Hand Shadows,” Being a Novel, Unique, and Original Series of 25 Silhouettes, by William J. Hilliar, As presented by him for three consecutive months at the Great Paris Exhibition, 1900

“The rabbit is first of all shown, then the dog appears, looks round to no one is about and promptly bites off an ear from the rabbit, then the other ear, the motion of eating being created by moving the little finger of the right hand.  The dog then apparently swallows the rabbit, and under cover of this movement the left hand moves alongside the wrist of the right, thereby making the throat of the dog appear to contain the rabbit.  By moving the left hand up and down a lifelike motion of swallowing is imparted to the dog.”  William J. Hilliar

Shadows cast by piles of snow

I read a selection from Hilliar’s book on Hand Shadows for the 73rd volume of LibriVox.  You can listen to my recording here.

You can read Hilliar’s book here.

How did I ever come to read a selection on hand shadows for LibriVox? Well… January 20, 2020 I was walking along the entrance road to the local forest preserve. A few days before it had snowed, and the plow had pushed the snow to the side of the road, where it had frozen, forming a miniature “ridge of mountains.” The sun was out, throwing snow shadows on the pavement. One looked to me like a dog speaking. And I remembered the shadow plays my sister and I used to orchestrate in the days before TV. Such simple amusements can still make for family fun.


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