Vietnamese Water Puppet
Anyone who has travelled to the Vietnamese city of Hanoi would immediately recognize this playful figure. This is a puppet from Hanoi's renowned water puppet show. The water puppet shows ("mua roi nuoc" in Vietnamese) have a long history in Vietnam. Vietnam's main agricultural export and staple has always been rice, planted in shallow waters (nouc). It is only natural then, that one of their major artistic expression should develop as something performed in water. Water puppetry can be traced back to the 12th century. An inscription on a stone stele in the Doi pagoda, in the Duy Tien district of Nam Ha province, relates a water puppet show staged in the year 1121AD to mark a birthday of then King Ly Nhan Tong. This polychrome painted light wood carved water puppet is a portrayal of a young male rice planter. Acquired in Hanoi in 2007 on a buying trip, is an original used vintage piece showing some paint painted flaking chipped right shoulder. Figure stands 21" tall and is 8" wide.