Why do people call Water Puppet instead of Land Puppet or Air Puppet?
Back to the 10th century, at the gap between 2 main crops each year, the fields usually covered with water. Besides, the northern villages have a plenty of ponds and lakes. Therefore, by rice-growing, farmers made water puppets as a way to celebrate the end of the harvest, religious festivals, and even at some other important occasions.
Nowadays, the artisan group usually comes from the countryside where Water Puppetry has been invented since thousands of years ago. It is a unique folk art, nevertheless, only few people are continuing this art.
A puppet artist can have spent half of his life to make countless numbers of Water Puppets like a frog, a dragon or Chu Teu. The frog can snatch bait, meanwhile, the dragon can spurt water and fire. One of the unique character puppets is Chu Teu. He could join in his hands, shoulders, elbows, and wrists so that he can catch fish and raise a flock of ducks.Moreover, costume designers and specialists in light and sound have added razzle-dazzle to the play through accessories, clothes and interior designs.
Artisans are always very good at carving and have an excellent sound knowledge of the complicated movements of water puppets. The most important thing to create a puppet is how to bring the cultural features of the Vietnamese village to them. Water Puppets are hand-carved from wood and given layers of vivid lacquer paint to protect it from the water. The artists give each puppet at least 10 layers of paint. It usually takes 3 days to finish a wooden puppet but we need 15 days to make a water puppet.
Technique Of Water Puppets
The topic for a puppet show is usually about the legends, working action or production. People love the fairy tales in the puppet showcase because of their humanity. Although the stories aren’t only for young readers, their depth is also meaningful.
A Water Puppet performance usually costs between VND 300,000 ($13) and VND 1.8 million ($78), while a puppet for display is about from VND150,000 to VND300,000.