Myanmar Water Puppet Show at Nanda Restaurant, Bagan city
HG Travel’s team to Myanmar arrived in Bagan, one of Myanmar’s top attractions and known as the heartland of Burmese culture, on a sunny day of May. It was when the low season starteds in this country. After a tiring day of visiting of temples and pagodas, we stopped for dinner at Nanda Restaurant. It was a beautiful with colorful lanterns where Burmese food in lacquer ware trays with compartments rice, curries and spicy salad. The dinner’s highlight was possibly not only the food, but the Burmese traditional puppet show.
Puppets are handled through strings attached to the forehead, neck, spine, elbows and hands, knees and heels. , they are marionettes. They became very popular in 18th century, even much more popular than human performers, and they also became very powerful at the King’s Royal court . The puppetry was not only entertainment court , but also served as a media in the countryside when there was no newspapers yet. As Ppuppet troupes traveled from town to town, puppeteers gathered information and gossip from many places, as well as from the capital city. They relayed the news through speeches of the comedian puppets, so that people in remote villages aware of the city life and the latest scandals.
A Burmese puppet troupe includes puppet handlers, vocalists, and musicians. Plays are based on Buddhist fables, historical legends, and folktales, among other stories. Each puppet is made with special crafted joints to enable them to play their roles to perfection. All puppets must have complete sexual organs carved in, although not in detail. When the troupe travels, the puppets are kept in two huge trunks. Some puppets are enemies, tiger and elephant or two ogres, so they must be stored separately. Even on stage they must be hung up at two opposite sides of the stage. There should be at least 28 puppets in each troupe, but many have a lot more.
Recently, when tourism is important , and visitors like to explore the culture of the country, it is fortunate that there are many puppet shows around to amuse them. Nowadays, puppets are only for entertainment, but in the past, they used to help ruling theis nation. (Source: Aaronshep & RoadtoMandalay)