Water puppet is one of the most theatrical arts that you can only find in Vietnam.
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.
Water puppet is a type of theatrical folk art, an unique tradition in Vietnamese agricultural civilization.
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:
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.
Puppet house in Thay pagoda
The space in front of puppet house is the stage, only totally completes in the show.
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.
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.
Backstage of performance
Talent of artists is that they show us joy, honest, gentleness, positivity, natural aspects of folf art, virtue of people.
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.
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
III.1. Lotus water puppet
Lotus water puppet overview
Hotline: 024.39381173 – 0972030420
III.2. Thang Long water puppet theater
Thang Long water puppet theater
Address: 57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
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
Adults: 100.000 VND
Children below 1.2 meters height: 60.000 VND
Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotline: 024.38249494 - 024. 38255450 – 0913511063
Bao Khanh Food store
Food in Bao Khanh store
Location: 14B Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Price: 20.000 - 45.000 VND
Hoan Kiem lake
Hoan Kiem lake overview
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.