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Gao’s Grand Courtyard with Shadow Plays

Nestled deep within the cumin-scented labyrinth of Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter is Gao’s Grand Courtyard, a lavish traditional Chinese dwelling which belonged to one of the most powerful families from Chinese antiquity. Recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage site, Gao’s Grand Courtyard is laden with antique furniture and artwork harkening back to an earlier age, and the establishment’s gardens and latticework of courtyards work together to create an alternate reality, insulated from the Muslim Quarter’s roar and hubbub.

While here, take some time to settle down for a short performance by a professional shadow puppet troupe. Chinese shadow plays originated in the Shaanxi Province during the Han Dynasty around two thousand years ago, and as you witness the assortment of colorful figures, cut from leather and paper and dexterously manipulated by rod-wielding puppeteers, allow yourself to enjoy ancient China’s traditional stories of love and adventure in the same setting as Xi’an’s citizens of old.

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