Archives for posts with tag: chinese opera

clay toy

W50xD20xH80mm, China

Clay toys, like Disney toy, often take the form of a famous character, be it from a movie or an opera.  This figurine is Hu San Niang, one of the three female warriors on Mount Liang in the novel “Water Margin”.  Hu was the daughter of  a powerful family, not only is she beautiful she is also well trained in military.  After many victories for the family she was captured by the warriors of Mount Liang (108 outlaws that do good for the people) and soon she joined in and became the 59th warrior.

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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.

H500xW150mm, China

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.

There are over 2000 repertoires for the chaozhou wire puppet, these are roughly divided into 3 main themes; adaptation from the southern Chinese opera, local legends and historical stories.  This puppet has the warrior helmet featured in the blog a couple of days ago, a female warrior figure.

W300xH300mm, China

This is the head piece for Chinese opera, a crown used by the female warrior character, resembling the fighter’s helmet.  It has one layer of pompons and thus known as word one crown (the chinese word for one is 一, a simple horizontal line)

Due to the age of this piece, some of its tassels and a few of the pompons have gone missing.  The blue ornaments on the head piece are made from kingfisher feathers, tian tsui, a precious material.  The kingfisher bird has an amazing blue colour, however the intense colour is not from the pigment of the feather but from the reflection of the light.  Each piece of feather is painstakingly cut and inlay onto a metal gilt.   A relatively thin sheet of precious metal (gold or silver) is formed, gold or silver wires are bent according to the design and placed on the edge of this area, then small pieces of the feather is glued into the recess area.