HISTORY: Traditional glove puppetry developed in China as "the poor man's Chinese opera" in the 1300's. Its characters, costumes, and themes were adopted primarily from Beijing opera. Initially staged on holidays and festivals, glove puppet shows were performed to honor, thank, and entertain the gods. In the early 1600's, migrants from China to Taiwan brought this portable, popular folk art to a frontier society where it flourished. Back in China, during the Qing Dynasty's Manchu rule of the Han (1644-1911), the long, unbound hair of glove puppet theater's heroic male protagonists symbolically rebelled against the compulsory horse-tail queues that marked Han men as chattel. In the 1900's, the Japanese occupation of Taiwan (1895-1945) and the founding of the People's Republic of China (1949) suppressed this classic art form. In recent years, traditional glove puppet theater in both places has experienced a renaissance. Nevertheless, it is endangered by the conflicting demands of its highest artistic expression and our technological modernity. PERFORMANCE: Classic glove puppet theater integrates various aspects of art and culture, including Chinese literature, dialects, folk music, wood carving, painting, embroidery, and puppet manipulation techniques. A master puppeteer must be able to visually and verbally portray characters of different genders, ages, social statuses, and personalities; manipulate puppets to perform complex actions; and present a large repertoire of stories. PUPPETS: Classic glove puppets are 12 inches high. Depending on their era and quality, they have hollow hand-carved wooden or molded plastic heads. Their facial features, coloring, and hair denote their genders, ages, and characters; and their costumes--many ornately embroidered and decorated--signify their social classes. NOTE: The puppets being sold are fragile, have hollow plastic heads and small parts, and are not safe for young children.
Set of 4 Chinese Opera Puppets (Hand Puppets / Glove Puppets / Collectible Figurines) from Journey to the West (Set B) - B00WL8AABS