Water Puppet Show- Local Guide

Duc - October 28, 2018

I.Overview of Water Puppet Show

Water puppet is one of the most theatrical arts that you can only find in Vietnam.

Water puppet show Water puppet overview

For locals, it occupies an important position in the heart of Vietnamese people, as a meaningful tradition taking root from ancient civilization.

II. Introduction of Water Puppet Show

II.1. History:

Water puppet is a type of theatrical folk art, an unique tradition in Vietnamese agricultural civilization.

Water puppet show Agricultural work expressing through water puppet

It was born over 1000 years ago, in Hong delta area. This performance often occurs in festivals, Tet holiday. Water puppet is considered as a special immaterial culture of the country.

Water puppet show developed at peak in Ly and Tran Dynasties. The only remain object proving this fact is the stele “Sùng Thiện Diên linh tự tháp” in 1121, which engraved that there is a water puppet performance to celebrate for King Ly Nhan Tong.

It is an unique creativity of people living in Hong delta area, formed based upon the work of  irrigation. Through the story, audience can feel and sense the various aspect of festival in countryside, express some simple dream about life.

Among idyllic nature, we have a chance to contemplate the art including green land covering by trees, immense water surface, blue sky with clouds, and red roof tiles symbolizing for Vietnamese architecture. That’s the unique combination of art, nature and people.

Before officially becoming theatrical art, water puppet was a popular activity scattering most of villages, nourished by villagers’ enthusiasm.

This activity attached to village culture, in one side to worship gods, in other side to create the welcoming atmosphere for tourists, also an exciting festivals for villagers.

II.2. Elements of water puppet:

II.2.1. Stage:

Unlike other types, water puppet has a characteristic feature: using water surface to be the stage in which puppets perform. Puppet house is built in the middle of pond or lake, with proportional architecture, symbolizing for rooftop of pagodas, temples in countryside.

Water puppet show Puppet house in Thay pagoda

The space in front of puppet house is the stage, only totally completes in the show.

II.2.2. Puppet:

The puppet is products of folk wood-sculpture art, realistic, simple, ardent and lyrical. Its figure is often described as cheerful, humorous, highly symbolic.

The most typical character is “chu Teu”, humorous and optimistic. Teu is the incarnation of a strong, good-natured, rustic Vietnamese farmer, who is a story-teller in festivals. His role is to open festivals, introduce shows and announce some events occurring. This character can be sarcastic to anyone or any event.

Water puppet show

Chu Teu

The more perfect puppets are, the more helpful it is for improving controlling technique, also expressing abilities.

II.2.3. Controlling technique:

Controlling technique in water puppet is highly respected, making every single movement of puppets in the show. This is a key value of this art.

Upon experiences and creative ability, artists has made many spectacular performance with various and diversified movements. The control is hiden under water, using water to make movements, surprising the audience with marvelous scenes.

Water puppet show Backstage of performance

Talent of artists is that they show us joy, honest, gentleness, positivity, natural aspects of folf art, virtue of people.

II.2.4. Music:

In the past, water puppet performed outdoor, so music was often loud to keep rhythm and stir up the atmosphere.

People uses many traditional instruments to raise an uproar, rosing both audience and artists.

Water puppet show Orchestra in water puppet

Artists control puppets based on music, from gentle to dynamic, to connect performances together.

II.3. Highlights/ Performances of Water Puppet Show

Water puppet show Dragon performance

III. Water puppet show theater

III.1. Lotus water puppet 

Water puppet show Lotus water puppet overview

  • Address: 16 Lê Thái Tổ (79 Hàng Trống), Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: at 5 p.m everyday
  • Ticket price
    • Standard: 80.000 VND
    • V.I.P: 100.000 VND
  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Contact

Email: lotuswaterpuppet@gmail.com

Hotline: 024.39381173 – 0972030420

III.2. Thang Long water puppet theater

Water puppet show Thang Long water puppet theater

  • Address: 57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

  • Opening hours

From May to September: at 4.10 p.m, 5.10 p.m, 6.30 p.m and 8 p.m

Other months: at 3 p.m, 4.10 p.m, 5.10 p.m, 6.30 p.m and 8 p.m

  • Ticket price

Adults: 100.000 VND

Children below 1.2 meters height: 60.000 VND

  • Language: Vietnamese
  • Contact

Email: thanglong.wpt@fpt.vn and ticket2013.wpt@gmail.com

Hotline: 024.38249494 - 024. 38255450 – 0913511063

IV. Attractions nearby

  • Recommended food:

Bao Khanh Food store

Water puppet show Food in Bao Khanh store

Location: 14B Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Price: 20.000 - 45.000 VND

  • Attraction:

Hoan Kiem lake

Water puppet show Hoan Kiem lake overview

V. Related tour

At the moment, we do not have the tour to see water puppet show performance, but if you are really interested in this activity, don’t hesitate to call us Az Local Trip to ask for a guide to have a visit with a local experience.

  • Customize tour: Tourists can choose the destination and our company will arrange them in a route.