The shapes of the puppets sometimes include translucent color or other types of detailing.
The history of shadow puppetry is uncertain, but seems to have originated in Asia, possibly in the 1st millennium BCE. It later spread to the Ottoman empire and seems not to have reached Europe before the 17th century.
Around the time cinematography was developed several theaters in Montmartre showed elaborate "Ombres Chinoises" shows that were very successful.
A more complex 19th century rackwork slide showed the then known eight planets and their satellites orbiting around the sun.Shadow play and the magic lantern offered popular shows with moving images as the result of manipulation by hand and/or some minor mechanics.In 1833 the phenakistiscope introduced the stroboscopic principle of modern animation, which would also provide the basis for cinematography.The earliest projection of images was most likely done in primitive shadowgraphy dating back to prehistory.It evolved into more refined forms of shadow puppetry, mostly with flat jointed cut-out figures which are held between a source of light and a translucent screen.
It has been claimed that these superimposed figures were intended for a form of animation with the flickering light of the flames of a fire or a passing torch illuminating different parts of the painted rock wall, revealing different parts of the motion.