Mandalay Marionettes Theater Show
Marionette puppet has played an important role in Myanmar culture and art for 500 years, it not only allows people to get about current events in the past but also shows tourists more about Myanmar literature, history, religion, custom and habit.
Traditional Marionette puppet shows have waned for decades in Myanmar and maybe become a lost art in the future. In 1986, Ms. Ma Ma Naing and Ms. Naing Yee Mar established Mandalay Marionettes Theater to protect Marionette Puppets. Mandalay Marionette Theater has been working to saving Myanmar traditional art such as dance, music, sculpture, sequin embroidery, and painting.
Main characters in Mandalay Marionette
Zaw Gyi (Alchemist)
Zaw Gyi is a character having magic, he has a pointed chin, funny mustache, and beard with a smile. Zaw Gyi often wears a red costume trimmed with gold. He uses his magic to do many help people and there is no limit to his magic. Zaw Gyi’s dance steps and acrobatic leaps are very difficult due to its fast and complicate, who can perform Zaw Gyi puppet is also a master of this kind of art.
Belu (Ogre/ Demon)
The demon often has protruding snout with fangs and grinning teeth and starry eyes to create a scary mood. Demon dance often shows the power and strength of evil, perform with drum beat known as “ka-roung” and stalking steps.
The Handmaiden wears a red costume – the favorite color of Nats, her hair flows down, and a red silk band on her brow, two short ends fluttering over the ears. A long silk scarf is tied around her torso, knotted on her bosom. The handmaiden puppet is one of the most difficult puppets to control because it has the most strings, more than 30 strings.
Nagan (Magic snake)
Nagan is the king of snake in many Buddhist stories in Jataka and fights with Gallon or Garuda in Himavunta scene.
Garuda is the king of bird in Jakata Buddhist stories and due to his magic power, he is able to turn himself to human form with a crown to prove his status. A Garuda puppet has a head, wings, and talons of a bird; body and hands belong to the human.
Like many other tales, the prince often is a hero. This is the only character that dresses close to tradition. On the chest of Mintha costume is embroidered (called “Salwe”) by the best craftsmen.
Princess always “make up” very beautiful and wear opulent costume with silvers, tinsels, beads, elaborate imitation jewelry on her neck, and even a diamond comb on her hair to show her charming and beauty like the description.
After experiencing the interesting and unique performances in Mandalay Marionette Theater Show, a great suggestion for you is buying puppets as souvenirs. Puppet is one of the unique traditional art forms in Myanmar, colorful puppets created by manual methods, will definitely remind you of a beautiful time in Myanmar.
(Image source: Internet)