Laixi puppet show dazzles New Zealand
The Dahanouge Puppeteer Group from Laixi, a county level city of Qingdao, Shandong province staged a dazzling puppet performance at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa on June 10, bringing local audiences an amazing show of the time-honored Chinese folk art.
Puppet performing arts are an important part of Chinese traditional culture, and a national treasure that has been passed down for over two thousand years.
The city of Laixi is the birthplace of Chinese puppetry and widely considered the hometown of the performing art.
The performance, hosted by the China Cultural Centre in New Zealand and the Shandong provincial department of culture, preluded this year's China Cultural Week event in New Zealand.
Puppeteers blended the traditional art in with excerpts from classic operas including the much-loved "Three Battles with the White Bone Demon" and "The Butterfly Lovers", attracting many children and their families.
Anna, a local puppet artist was intrigued by the oriental art.
"From puppet making to the stage performance, everything about it is quite different from western puppetry. I am very impressed by the expressive, unique and thoroughly enjoyable show".
Jiang Yutao, head of the Dahanouge Puppeteer Group, said that Western marionettes are usually a one-man show with fewer props, while Laixi puppet shows usually require more puppeteers to put on the performance.
A dozen steps are needed while making puppets, including the choosing of appropriate material, carving, papering, polishing, coating with clay, applying powder, putting on facial makeup and the final coat of lacquer.
According to Xu Yongsheng, an official from Shandong, the puppeteers of Laixi have a unique way of crafting the puppet's head, using mainly paper instead of wood in order to make them lighter and easier to control.
Shandong artists perform a puppet show at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa on June 10. [Photo/ctnews.com.cn]
A puppet writing "hua hao yue yuan", or blooming flowers and full moon, a Chinese idiom to describe perfect conjugal bliss, receives praise from the audience at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa on June 10. [Photo/ctnews.com.cn]