The traditional Chinese art of puppetry dates back to the Ming dynasty, which spanned from 1368 to 1644.
However, this art form withstood the test of time, and to this day marionette shows continue to amaze and excite.
提線木偶團員陳應鴻 (Chen Yinghong) 表示，「提線木偶和戲曲一樣都是有分『行旦』(男女) 的」。
“The marionette show is similar to other traditional Chinese operas, as both have female lead heroines and male characters that have a painted face,” explains troupe member Chen Yinghong (陳應鴻) .
He admits that being a performer for the troupe isn’t easy, as there are strict rules and fixed gestures when controlling the movements of the puppet.
The more complicated the movements mean the more strings performers must control.
Chen revealed that he had operated a marionette with 40 strings once.
Performers also sing in Fukienese, as the various forms of expression allow the show to not be restricted by the language.
“Every performer needs at least three to five years of training on basic skills, and these have been passed down for a thousand years now,” Chen said.
Lin Congpeng (林聰鵬) joined the troupe when he was just 12 years old, designing and making puppets for the marionette show.
When Lin was young, he struggled to carve the wood and needed to use the support of his shoulder to carve.
However, he got stronger over time, which allowed him to develop his craft and create beautiful works of art.
After years of experience, Lin found that “Making the puppet’s head is the most important part for the show because the head will define who the characters are.”
The hard work of all the troupe members thus allows us to enjoy the traditional Chinese art form their ancestors created one thousand years ago.