What do we call this?

hand signs

Hand signs on the wall? Hand gestures?

4 Answers 4


Shadow play, hand shadows, or shadow puppets will all probably be understood, although when I hear "shadow puppets" I usually think of things like this:

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An older name for shadows thrown by hand is simply hand shadows. I've got this book, originally published in 1859, facing me on my bookshelf right now:

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You can see how the popularity of the terms has changed over time.

  • That book though! (+1) Wow.
    – shin
    Apr 21, 2016 at 11:45
  • From the US, and when I hear "shadow puppets" I only think of the hand puppets.
    – David K
    Apr 22, 2016 at 15:31

It can be called hand(s) shadow puppet.

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Shadow play:

  • A play presented by casting shadows of puppets or actors on a screen. Also called shadowgraph, shadow show.



Its just called hand shadows. If a story is told using that then its called shadow play with hands. A shadow play may consist of hand shadows and shadow puppets(shadow puppets are usually cut-out shapes of puppets).

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