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article imageRenaissance revival of the ancient art of Taiwan glove puppetry

By Nancy Houser     Dec 13, 2011 in Arts
The Kung-Fu Taiwan puppetry known as potehi or budaixi is part of a feature length documentary film titled "PuppetVision: The Movie." Potehi is glove puppet art, a 3,000-year old artistic skill that originated from ethnic Chinese nomads.
The art of puppetry has become the focus of a renaissance like no other time in history. The magical doppelgänger of yesterday and today's old-fashioned puppets has replaced the slickness of current cutting-edge technology.
Taiwan potehi is part of an amazing cultural legacy, reaching back tens of thousands of years ago. The film documents "radically different traditions," with the Taiwan puppetry an inheritance of the earliest moments of mankind's evolution. Sixty puppeteers will be focused in the film from fifteen different countries, with each artist explaining their craft in detail.
Untitled
YouTube/PuppetVision
The path to the wooden towers and stages of the ancient Taiwanese puppetry that moved to televised "golden" glove puppetry has transformed Taiwan puppet drama toward the same change as society and cultural characteristics.
This change maintains the main character types seen throughout history: male lead, female lead, supporting male role, and the jester. The puppeteer in charge of the performance requires puppetry training more demanding than any actor.
A key player, Gio.gov reports that the puppeteer is required to learn many things:
* Mimic the tones and phraseology of different age and gender characters
* Must know how to manipulate puppets to perform complex actions
* Ensures that each puppet should perform its own style and tones
* The puppeteer needs to be a storyteller, and be able to "tell a thousand ancient stories from a single mouth, and create a million troops with ten fingers."
Beginning in the 1950s, fads and commercialism entered the picture, giving the puppetry unique vocabularies and ridiculous pet phrases. Originally in Chaozhou-style ballets and nanguan music, today's playwrights from commercial theaters were introduced with modern day lighting effects and electronic sound.
Moral advocates of the Taiwan puppetry began to criticize the commercialism process that was surrounded with bizarre-shaped characteristics and unique vocabularies, things that tore down the ancient make-up of the original Taiwan glove puppetry.
The Taiwan government has intervened with this useless phenomenon, an intervention that has helped bring back the magical doppelgänger of today's Taiwan glove puppetry.
More about Video, Ancient, Art, Taiwan, puppetry
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