Archives for category: puppet


W180xD70xH500mm, China

This little guy is the bridegroom in the puppet theater.

This puppet is called a Chaozhou wire puppet, the body of the puppet is supported by a main wire attached to the back of waistline of the puppet while the 2 arms are controlled by 2 wires attached to the waists, hence wire puppet, all the 3 wires are controlled by the puppeteer at the back stage.

The wire puppet is originated from the shadow puppet, it is also known as the Paper Shadow Puppet (through there is no paper and no shadow at all).  From the break through from its 2 dimensions into having a round body, a head, then the removal of the paper screen demanding for a more very articulated head and costume.  The control of the puppet remained more or less the same as the traditional shadow puppet giving the limitation of the movement of the head and the legs.

Click here to see the insight of wire puppet in today’s world.  In the beginning of the movie you will see a man talking in a small construction site to a worker.  The worker is one of the puppeteers who have abandon his art to make a more stable living as a masonry worker.  The leader of the small puppet theater was trying to lure him to perform again.  Despite being one of the national  intangible cultural heritage items, it seems that its survival at the moment is only held out by the determination of the artisan.  So next time when you see a puppet show please go and give it the support it deserves.



W120xH410mm, China

At the hands of the master puppeteer, under the light a piece of leather would come to life so vividly that somethings even actor and actress can’t fill their place.

This shadow puppet is a female warrior, Dong Yue E, one of the warriors of the Yang family.  The wife of the third son, she is known for her skill in archery and her arrow would never miss a thing.


W45xH90mm, China

This is a glove puppet head for the character Guan Yu.

One of the heros in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Guan Yu was the loyal general of the warlord Lui Bei.  With the help of Guan, Lui Bei later formed the Han Dynasty and unified China.

Guan Yu is portrayed with having a red face, 9 feet tall with a 2 feet long beard and eyes of a pheonix.  A powerful and masculine figure.  Aside from his bravery, Guan Yu is known for his loyalty.


W100xH320mm, China

Before the arrival of the internet, tv, moving pictures, the shadow puppets are the closest to an animated reality.  It has been said that concept of shadow puppet came some 2000 years ago in the Han dynasty.  The Han emperor was extremely depressed after the death of the Empress and was unable to the ruling of the country.  Advisor Li who has been devoted to the Emperor was deeply concerned, one afternoon in the street he saw a kid playing with a doll, it was the movement of the shadow that had captivated him.  Li used cotton to made the features of the Empress, supported the arms and legs on rod, with a candle behind, a screen was placed in front of the mannequin.  The Emperor came into the tent one evening and saw his beloved Empress once again.

This shadow puppet is a Xiao Sheng character, playing roles that are young handsome, well learnt scholar and usually matched by a beautiful diva Dan role.

Click here to see more of our shadow puppets.


W45xH90mm, China

This puppet head is the General Deng Ai of the 3 Kingdom period (197-264 AD).  The story “Tan Shan Gu” has been made into opera and puppet theater.  At the time, China was divided into 3 kingdoms, General Deng was defending the Wei kingdom against the attack of the General Jiang Wei of the Shu kingdom.

shadow puppet

W398xH380mm, Cambodia

This is a Nang Sbek Toch shadow puppet, the smaller of the 2 types of shadow puppet in Cambodia.

Nang Sbek Toch means “theatre of small hides”, these puppets are made out of cow hides which is cleaned, treated, tanned before it is ready for use.  A paper template is designed, portion of the hides is then cut out for use; patterns of lines are chiseled out enhance the feature of the puppet.  Outline of the puppet are then stained for appearance of the puppet itself, as unlike the Chinese shadow puppet that are thin and translucent, the colouring of the Cambodian puppet will not have an impact on the shadow itself.

(you might want to switch off the sound for this video)

Here is a beautiful photo documentation.

See our other shadow puppets.

Shadow PuppetW200xH600mm, Indonesia

This shadow puppet came from a set we acquire from Indonesia,  curiously the contained Indonesian characters as well as Chinese ones.  Like this particular puppet, the head gear, the costume, the bounded feet, the facial features all points to a Chinese diva.  I wonder if the set of shadow puppets were commissioned by a Chinese immigrant in Indonesia who is a bit home sick for Chinese shadow puppet.  It became a fusion of the two, just as today’s wayang kilt some of which has departed from the traditional story of the Ramayana to include everyday events such as karaoke.


shadow puppe

W150xH380mm, China

A warrior of the Hua county in the Shaan Xi province., it is said that Chinese shadow puppetry originated from this county.  Shadow puppet theater started its form as a Taoist court ceremony  where illusion, shadows, dreams and a bit of imagination formed the idea of after death for the ancient emperor.  As time goes by, the religious ceremony took a form as entertainment for the emperor and thus shadow puppet theatre began.  The fashion from the courts later was copied by the nobles and then the wealthy, and to the masses.  The Hua school of shadow puppet are small and very finely made, it is believed that the tradition came from entertaining small party of the court.


W40xD50xH100mm, China

 Like other forms of Chinese theater, the glove puppet follows the same cast catagories.  This puppet head belongs to the Jing category (painted face), a forceful character and the sub category of Black Flower (Hei Hua) which denotes a strong temperament but integrity (a bit like Captain Haddock in the Tin Tin comic).  Junior means a younger character, hence there is also Black Flower Senior who comes with beard.  Hei Hua Junior is often cast as the talented officers for a respected official

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