Burmese puppets

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Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1992 - Crafts & Hobbies - 98 pages
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The remarkable dexterity of Burmese puppeteers was first noted by Western observers in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Unfortunately, because of the language barrier, these observers were only able to report on the visual aspect of a performance and so missed out on the elegantly composed songs and courtly dialogue of the amazingly lifelike characters. Although the puppet theatre in Burma became a vehicle for state propaganda, it was also employed by the people to criticize the misuse of power. eThought to date from the twelfth century, it grew rapidly in popularity and by 1820 was considered superior to other forms of entertainment. So great was its influence that the movements of the puppets continue to be copied by dancers of today. The rich cultural and religion background of Burma provided playwrights with ample opportunity to produce a large number of plays. It was a male dominated profession, with men vocalists playing the part of females. Emphasis was placed on the quality of the dialogue and the puppets became secondary. This trend was reversed and by 1900, due to competition from the live theatre, manipulatory techniques achieved amazing results. In this book, Singer describes the customs, regulations, and changing patterns of this art form, and the efforts being made by the few remaining troupes to keep the tradition alive.

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Contents

The Puppets
14
A Puppet Troupe
39
A Puppet Performance
60
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Freelance writer, photographer, and artist

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