String Puppet dolls, Myanmar 16 Jun 2017
About this photo
Colourful string puppets are the basis of the Burmese traditional art of puppetry. The art dates back to 1780 in Myanmar when it was introduced as a form of Royal entertainment. It was slowly adapted for the mass market, soon becoming a form of entertainment for the general public. Shows were used to convey political messages and propaganda; the puppets would take on characters of individuals the king chose to reprimand or preserve.
Each puppet has 18 or 19 wires; all are controlled by one person who puts on the voice and character too. Shows were often accompanied by an orchestra. Puppetry saw a decline when the British colonised the country and the performers lost the support they required to run shows. Since the early 1990's puppetry has seen a revival, becoming a major tourist attraction. Experience the unusual shows on any of Insight Guides' trips to Myanmar.
This article was originally published on 13 October, 2015