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The Puppet Show

The Chinese Puppet Show (kuileixi) is known as mu'ouxi (play of wooden dolls), in the country, which has its roots in remote time.  Traditionally, Puppet Show comes in three forms: the rod-top puppet, the marionette or string puppet and the glove or hand puppet.  In China, the rod-top puppet is the most popular show.  

The puppet, less than a meter tall, is made with true-to-life features.  It is raised overhead at the top of a stick by the puppeteer with one hand and manipulated its action (moving a pair of wire rods) with the other hand. 

One of the basic skills required of the puppeteer is to be able to hold high the puppet, which weighs 2 to 3 kilograms, with one arm and to keep it either motionless or moving steadily on the same level as dictated by the scenario. 

The Marionette or String Puppet
The marionette appears on stage in full view of the audience.  it is of a more complicated structure, with the head, shoulders, waist, hands and feet all jointed, movable and controlled by separate wires.  During performance, it is operated from a concealed operating bridge high above the puppet. 

The Glove or Hand Puppet
The glove or hand puppet is also called "bag puppet" in China.  About 20 cm long, it is the smallest of the three types.  The puppeteer's hand is placed directly inside the puppet, giving the direct control and manipulation of movement.  It may be made from solid materials such as wood, plastic wood, paper mache or from pliable ones such as fabric, foam rubber, latex.  The hand puppet is usually legless or with stuffed legs, which merely hang limply.

Shadow Play of China which is usually called "the home of shadow play", with the longest history, the most charming images and the most marvelous techniques in performance, has exerted great influences on the world culture.  

A puppet, usually two-dimensional, is placed against a screen so as to interrupt the light from the rear or above.  Shadows may be in silhouette (opaque) or colored.  A shadow puppet may be a single shape or sectional, and articulated by means of hinged, overlapping segments.  It may be made from leather, metal, cardboard, plastics and  theatrical gels.

The Chinese shadow play, has three branches: hand shadow play, paper shadow play and leather shadow play.

Today, the stage has been expanded and modified.  The glove puppets have been enlarged.  More three dimensional props are used, and a wider variety of plays are presented with diverse themes and greater dramatic appeal.

 

 

 

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