Marionette Puppetry 木偶


Dublin Core


Marionette Puppetry 木偶


Wood, Strings, Theatre, Performance


Marionettes on strings or wire like the old time Pinocchio or as in the picture to the right were once popular in the China before the advent of motion pictures.

Puppet art is a medium of performance with puppets. How is the puppet produced? It is inconclusive. The Yinxu in Anyang, Henan Province, unearthed the slave Tao Xun (the Shang Dynasty, the first 16th century before the first 16th century), and the Spring and Autumn Period, the Warring States Period had a raft. The music, songs and genres excavated from the Western Han Tombs in Mawangdui, Changsha, have made great progress in craftsmanship, variety and modeling.


Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD)


China Puppet Theater, Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel, The Shanghai Puppet Theater


Shadow Puppetry


Height: 60 cm - 80 cm



Crafts Item Type Metadata

Crafting Methods

Besides sophisticated acting skills, the carving of the puppet is also a specialized and complicated art. A Quanzhou stringed puppet alone comes in over 300 varieties in order to play a number of different characters.


Wood, Paper, Fabric

Usage and Application

Each puppet was manipulated through dozens of strings attached to its limbs by the puppeteer’s ten fingers. Wearing exaggerated expressions, the puppet makes all kinds of moves as the puppeteer pulls the strings. The puppet can perform intricate movements including holding a brush, grinding an ink stick, and writing Chinese characters on paper. This stringed puppet can have sixteen to thirty strings and is very difficult to manipulate. In order to operate it with ease, the performer has to spend long hours in professional training. An accomplished performer can read lines, sing, and control the puppet’s different postures and movements at the same time, synchronizing himself with the puppet as a whole. Chinese marionette plays are mostly performed in the open air without a curtain to conceal the puppeteers, unlike the common practice in the West, and spectators can see both the performances and the performers from the three sides of the stage. In the West, the audiences usually expect the performers to be hidden.



“Marionette Puppetry 木偶,” CCCH9051 Group 64, accessed March 2, 2024,

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