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Puppets from Fujian Province showed at the National Museum of China

Date: 2018.02.09 Author: Phyllis Wang

This puppets exhibition themed on “Craftsmanship” started on Feb. 6 at the National Museum of China, and it will be ended on April 6. During these two months, over 300 puppets will be exhibited at the National Museum of China. Zhangzhou puppets crafting is included in the first batch of state-level intangible cultural heritage, of which puppets made by the family of Xu are the typical examples.

Zhangzhou puppets crafting arose in the Jin and Tang dynasties, which is almost 2000 years old. At that time, few entertainments can be enjoyed by people; therefore, puppets brought people a lot of joy and pleasure.

The family of Xu spent over 200 years devoting themselves to develop and perfect this traditional art. Xu Zhuchu is the sixth-generation successor. On the basis of the traditional carving skills, he integrated his own perception and insight of traditional art and real life into puppets carving. Also, he learned from other puppets-carving families and finally developed the puppets from one hundred types to almost six hundreds types.

All these 300 puppets, which include Beijing opera characters, gods, ghosts and monsters, are crafted by Xu Zhuchu and his son, the seventh-generation successor, Xu Qiang. You can tell the emotions of puppets from their features-raised eyebrows, deep soulful eyes, smiles and so on. The two great craftsmen convey the spirits through puppets’forms.