Taipei Puppet Museum

Puppets are cool, I studied character animation, which I also love, but there is something about the physicality and immediacy in the performance of puppets, there is an extra layer of magic and life in a well performed puppet.

Artefacts and artworks in themselves, amazing variety and cultural heritage, like many art forms, simply an expression of human creativity and imagination, but also ideologies, especially before the days of TV.

Above we see two puppets, which were used as anti-communist propaganda in Taiwan, puppets were also used as part of religious teachings.

We see puppets that are about death and evil, used as tools, I guess, to teach kids about morals and the things that are quite scary, but can be learned in a safe atmosphere, using metaphors and with some humour added, preparing them for life’s challenges.

I saw a lot of Japanese puppets there too.

It’s really interesting to see the “making off”, stages, maybe it’s just me, but I see this quite a lot here in Taiwan, people are often open about the making process, rather than being guarded and secretive about it.

See above the puppet heads, looking at many puppets you quickly realise how important the heads are, to communicate who the puppet is, actually that is the main solid part of certain types of puppets, such as glove puppets, with the addition of hands and feet, then the clothes, which act as a cover for the your hand/body.

Puppet theatres at the museum are pretty elaborate, puppets were often used in temples to teach their philosophies and practices, so it makes sense that they would reflect the temple decorations, and I guess this would work well as a kind of, portable temple, for reaching out into communities, until screens took over that is.

Thanks for reading, Sam.

Author: Sam

I'm a multi-media artist, working with drawing, painting, textiles and motion expression, I have been living in Asia for the last 6 years, I'm originally from Wales, in the UK. I am available for commissions and creating animated films for commercial, educational and entertainment projects.

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