April 8, 2013

Prop closet treasure

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:32 am by chavisory

I was reorganizing a props closet recently when I found this fellow.

Puppet 1

I got all of his strings untangled to try to see how he works; he’s a marionette, but seems to be missing the wooden handhold that would allow a puppeteer to operate his legs independently from his arms and head.

He’s beautiful, and also clearly not a toy or a prop.  He looks like a traditional puppet of some kind.  (In most cultures other than ours, puppet theater is a serious traditional storytelling form for adults as well as children.)  And here’s my real embarrassment:  I wrote my final paper for graduation with honors in college on the religious frameworks underpinning various East Asian puppet theater traditions…and I had no idea what this guy is.

puppet face

He looks Indian or Hindu, perhaps, and preliminary image Googling reveals a resemblance to the string puppets of a tradition called Bommalattam, but those marionettes are described as being about 3 feet tall, and this one is only just over a foot, and also more detailed and ornate.  I dug out a copy of my paper to skim through, but he doesn’t fit the description of anything that I studied.

puppet feet

It’s past my bedtime, but I’m a little obsessed now with figuring out more about him.  I’ll have to resume research in the morning, though if anyone else is geek enough to have any idea, I would be thankful to know.


  1. If you get really stumped, you could contact the puppetry arts center in atlanta. They’ve got a huge collection of puppets and a puppet library on site.

    • chavisory said,

      I will definitely try them if someone on the internet doesn’t know…so far nothin’.

  2. Ari said,

    Hope you don’t mind, found your blog, saw your marionette and I was intrigued.

    Originally I thought it looked like it was from Thailand but digging a little more, it looks like it might be from Cambodia. I haven’t been able to find any more details about that style of puppet though.

    Hope it helps.

    • chavisory said,

      Oh my gosh, thank you! I’ll do some more digging with Cambodia in mind.

  3. time 時計

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