Vanishing Trade – Palm Art

January 31, 2008 at 11:42 pm | Posted in itchy fingers | Leave a comment
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Have always been interested in traditional puppet show but didn’t really have the chance to shoot them cos they are not a common scene nowaday. The only time you may still be able to find them is during the Seventh Lunar Month, and again many have been replaced by the more popular Getai. So I was pleasantly surprise when I went to Chinatown before the Chinese New Year lightup and found this traditional puppet show.

A typical colourful stage. I guess the pictures below should be some
kinda ‘poster’ showing the kinda story they perform. Here we have
the Journey to the West.

These tales of traditional folklore in hokkien is a 17th century art form. According to the banner there,”tradtional chinese puppet theatrical performance were introduced by the early southern Chinese immigrants. Singapore is the only place outside China where you can find four out of the five genres of traditional Chinese puppel theatre – the Gloved Puppet, String Puppet, Rod Puppet and Wired Puppet.” Dun think I have ever seen the wired puppet…

Puppets at work. One just emerged from behind the curtain.

The puppets are about 30cm tall, with legs wearing little shoes.
I like the little props like the chairs…

…and the little weapon! She was fighting so ferociously that the weapon
flew out of the stage. Being itchyfingers and of cos helpful lah,
I picked it up and put in back on stage for her…:p

behind stage
Behind the scene. The aunties puppeteers see through the screen
to manipulate the puppets.

see what
Multi-tasking – left hand maneuvering a puppet on stage and right hand
preparing another. The other aunty doesn’t look too friendly leh…:p

Ok, here’s a short clip of the fighting scene. Being such a linguistic genuis, I have provided subtitles for those of you who are unfortunately not proficient in Hokkien…:p Look out for the flying weapon!


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