Nearly extinct Myanmar puppet carving requires to be passed on to future generations

photo 2024 04 25 16 11 13
A puppet show and puppets.

The art of puppet carving, an almost extinct Myanmar tradition, must be passed on to future generations, it is learnt.

“What are abundant in marionettes are various beautiful appearances. It is easy to embellish. But, the most important thing is whether the puppet can dance or not. Normally, any puppeteer can beautify a puppet with many strings. But, a dancing puppet can only be made by someone who knows how to carve puppets. Such people are rare. As far as I know, there are only one or two puppeteers in Mandalay who know puppet carving. They are very important at the national level. This art must be passed on to the youth. There is no young generation that knows puppet carving. We need to take care of this gap,” said Ko Hla Myo, the founder of the Siripaccaya Art Gallery.

As puppet carvers, the most fundamental professionals in puppetry, are in short supply, some arrangements are being made to fill the gap.

photo 2024 04 25 16 11 12
A puppet show and puppets.

“The main focus is on puppetry. Painting has its own space with various styles and has no issue. For Myanmar marionette, even puppet sculptors who are the most fundament for puppet production are rare. For this, we are making some arrangements to solve this problem,” he explained.

A solo art exhibition titled “Marionette Show” featuring the works of the late U Zaw Win (Thit Htwin) at the Hotel Mandalay in March attracted interest from many people.

“It is more active than before in terms of marionette. The show was able to draw attention from both adults and young people. People’s interest grew. When the show was arranged, we learnt about the advantages and disadvantages of marionettes. Some elderly people who had seen the puppet show came to our solo show. It attracted public attention. Some asked if we would arrange another show,” he added.

Moreover, it should be taken seriously and noted that puppet shows have become rare and distant for Myanmar people.

Thit Taw/ZN

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