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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Friday, August 9

Taiwanese Glove Puppetry — 台灣布袋戲

Here is a little supplemental information on Taiwanese Glove Puppets I received from a woman I met at International Day at Saratoga Race Course.

Yuchi Young was part of the Taiwanese American Association in Albany booth under the tent at International Day. She sent me a brief synopsis on Glove Puppets, something I was intrigued by.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting, so here is what she sent me:

Photos by the Se Den Society
Glove puppetry has been part of the traditional folk culture in Taiwan for more than 200 years. Originated from China’s southeast coastal area of Chuan-Chou, Fu-Chian Providence in the 17th century and it is a form of popular entertainment performed mostly during local temple festivals, birthday or ground-breaking celebrations on a small elevated stage. During 1980s, puppet shows became popular in Taiwan as prime-time TV program series. 

Measured about 30 cm in height, the puppet is made of wooden head and cloth body. They are controlled by three fingers; pointer for the head, thumb and middle finger for the hands. Master puppeteers are able to manipulate puppets into performing extremely complex actions, such as fighting with weapons.

The role of each puppet, such as male or female and gentleman or warrior, is expressed by its particular head and facial design, dress adornment and color. The scriptures of puppet shows are usually adopted from popular old Chinese love or war stories. They have contributed to the preservation of social values and heritage.

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