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Friday, 26 May 2017


Puppets have existed for thousands of years and in nearly all civilizations. They are mentioned in Xenophon's Symposium of the 5th century BC, and there are ancient traditions of puppetry in China, India, Java and other parts of Asia. Puppets were  also known in ancient Egypt and in classical Greece.

Ancient Greek terracotta puppet dolls, 5th/4th century BC, By Giovanni Dall'Orto. 

Roi nuoc, or water puppetry originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. The puppets are made out of wood and then lacquered and the shows are then performed in a waist-deep pool. A large bamboo rod supports the puppet under the water and is used by the puppeteers, who are normally hidden behind a screen, to control them. Thus the puppets appear to be moving over the water. The earliest performance of roi nuoc was recorded in Vietnam in 1121.

Performance of the water puppet theatre Th─âng Long in Hanoi

The rise of the puppet theater in Japan was encouraged by the increased complexity of puppets and improvements in puppet manipulation. The action of the puppets was accompanied by musical recitative, and by the playing of the shamisen. The most notable Japanese playwright, Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725), wrote both puppet and Kabuki plays, but his best work was for the puppet theatre.

The diarist Samuel Pepys observed a marionette show featuring an early version of the Punch character in Covent Garden in London on May 9, 1662. It was performed by Italian puppet showman Pietro Gimonde, a.k.a. "Signor Bologna."

A fire during a puppet show in Burwell, Cambridgeshire, England killed 78 people (including 51 children) on September 8, 1727.

Johann Van Goethe acquired his first interest in the stage from a toy puppet show in his nursery. He wrote his first plays for this small puppet theater.

As a child, Hans Christian Anderson's favorite toy was a little homemade toy theater and young Hans sat at home making clothes for his wooden puppets, and reading all the plays that he could borrow. The Dane had a retentive memory and was known to memorize entire Shakespeare plays and recite them using his puppets as the characters.

The author George Sand opened a puppet theater in Nohant in 1847, showing plays written by her son,

There was a fashion for literary puppet theater in France during the latter part of the 19th century.

The Muppets are an ensemble cast of puppet characters, who were first created by puppeteer Jim Henson in 1955.Their name came from combining the words "puppet" and "marionette."

Emu, the puppet pal of the late comedian Rod Hull, ate the Queen Mother's bouquet at the Royal Variety Show in 1972.

The children's puppet TV show Sesame Street created an episode in the wake of 9/11 in which Big Bird has to deal with his pen pal Gulliver, who does not believe birds should be friendly to other species.

In Palermo, Sicily, there is a marionette theater where two foot high puppets perform extracts from the life of Charlemagne.

Pupaphobia is the fear of puppets.

Source Comptons Encyclopaedia

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