Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) An exhibition opened at the Yunlin Palm Puppets Museum in southern Taiwan Tuesday, featuring more than 100 puppets from countries in five continents until March 12, 2023.
“The World On Your Hand: An Exhibition of International Hand Puppetry” is organized by the Taiwan Potehi Institute, under the Culture and Tourism Department of Yunlin County Government, in concert with Dmitri Carter, executive director of the Northwest Puppet Center in Seattle, the United States.
One of the exhibits is a German puppet called Kasper, which is very similar to the Mr. Punch puppet in the U.K and is a popular comic character in German string puppet and glove puppet theaters.
According to the Taiwan Potehi Institute, the role of Kasper has undergone variations over time. Whereas it was originally known for violence and talking dirty, the puppet underwent a makeover in the 20th century and is now better known as an educator and often used to teach young children how to behave.
The puppets from Mexico represent another highlight in the exhibition. The history of Mexican puppetry can be dated to before the arrival of Columbus, and during the colonial era, local puppet culture mixed with that brought by European powers, the institute said.
The Mexican puppets displayed were made by Lola Cueto, one of the most influential theater puppet designers in the 20th century. She was one of the first female students at the Academy of San Carlos, the first major art academy in the Americas, and one of only a few professional female artists in Mexico in the early 20th century, the institute added.
As a puppet collector and educator, Carter said puppets can be traced back to early human civilization and are a common art form worldwide, adding that he is grateful for the opportunity to showcase the puppets on display and discuss puppetry as an art form.
It is hoped that people attending the exhibition will be able to take a deeper look at the cultural legacy of puppetry, he said.
At the official opening of the exhibition, Yunlin County Magistrate Chang Li-shan (張麗善) spoke about the progress that has been made on building a headquarter for the Taiwan Potehi Institute, which was established in March 2021, to promote this traditional art form in Yunlin, long considered the birthplace of Taiwanese puppetry.
The institute is the first dedicated to traditional Taiwanese glove puppetry and aims to develop international connections as showcased by the exhibition, according to Chang.
The exhibition also represents an attempt by the institute to inspire domestic puppet artists and performers, to whom the institute plans to provide more resources in the future as it works to boost the development of local glove puppetry, Chang said.
According to the county’s Culture and Tourism Department, the institute’s headquarters, located in the Taiwan Potehi Cultural District in Huwei Township, is still under construction and is scheduled to be completed before the end of next year.
(By Chiang I-ching and Chao Yen-hsiang)


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