Hanoi Water Puppets

We went to the home is the premier water puppet artist. He designs and produces the puppets out of wood from the ficus tree which he then paints with lacquer in many layers. One of the adventures was getting to his home through the labyrinth of alleyways.

We followed the artist single file making turns through the maze of alleys.

We finally got to a 4 story building which housed his family of 4 and his workshop and on the top floor his theater.

The shelves on the Third floor contain wood carvings of characters some of which were made by his father and grandfather.
The carvings are covered with paint sometimes brilliant and sometimes gilded.

The performance is given in a pool of water by one or two performers standing in the water behind screens.

I have several videos of the performances which have the puppets in the eater sometimes racing and sometimes fighting.
Here is the wife of the artist who performed with a nephew. She is wearing waders and in her hands are sticks connected to the puppets. The bird figures have one moving part in this instance the neck can raise the head while moving in the water.

We were invited to try our hand at moving the puppets. I did try the bird and found it a bit awkward at first but learned to move the bird and the neck and the tail feathers.

What a way to make a living!

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On the planet in California

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