Archives for posts with tag: glove puppet


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.

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

W40xD50xH100mm, China

This glove puppet head is of the character Gong Guang, belonging to the Jing (painted face) category, a supporting actor in today’s term but always representing a figure who is upright, loyal, strong and fearless of high power, it is denoted by the word Guang and the red face (gong).   He would play the character of a courageous warrior  such as JianWei of the 3 Kingdom.

The puppet is carved out from a single piece of wood and with hand painted features.

H100xW50xD60mm, China

Wonder what a villain looks like?  This is a typical villain of the Chinese glove puppet, all villains have a white painted face with black features.  A word of caution: the white face villains came in all different ages, from a young chap to the bad government official and finally the elderly villain.  The shown in the photo here is one of the main villain in a puppet show, someone who has high power and no fear, for example, a prime minister who gave manipulate the emperor  etc.

W300xH450mm, China

This glove puppet character is called Di Lei, within the show (opera) he belongs to Jing (painted face) category.  Di Lei, is courageous fighter but lacking in tactics, he is one of the 4 hammer warriors of the famous Sung general Yue Fei.  With extraordinary strength, he is known as the iron hammer warrior.

The head of the puppet (as well as its eyes and mouth) is controlled with the index finger, while the thumb would control one arm and the rest of the 3 fingers control the other arm.  The thumb will also control the turn of the head while palm of the hand will control the waist and leg gestures.  As the puppet is manipulated with one hand, one puppet master can have 2 puppets on the show at the same time.

W300xH450mm, China

The head, feet and hands of the glove puppet is made of wood and its body and arms in a fabric formed glove.  For the right hand control puppet, with the whole hand in the glove, the thumb would go into the left arm of the puppet, the index finger in the head and the remaining 3 fingers in the right arm of the puppet.  As the puppet is directly control by the hand, fine mechanism can be built into the head for the control of the eye, the mouth etc.  As in all theatre, the characters of the glove puppet show can be classified into 7 category and each with its many subtypes;  the Sheng (male role), the Dan (female role), the Jing (the painted face strong character), the Chou (clown), the Xian (saint), the Guai (monster).

The puppet here is of the saint category,  Ling Guan, he is a Taoist saint who used to be bad temple god who would eat children for a meal.  A powerful wizard tamed him with a flying fire charm and set his eyes on fire.  Ling Guan was upset and filed a complaint to the Jade Emperor who compensated him with a golden whip and a third eye of wisdom, he was also allowed to follow wizard and take his revenge if he found the wizard doing a bad deed.  12 years he followed the wizard and the wizard only do good and no wrong, Ling Guan was moved, instead of hoping for his revenge he became a disciple of the wizard.

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