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Chinese Opera Glove Puppets Blog

Buyer Beware: Antique / Vintage Chinese Glove Puppets

Chinese opera glove puppet collecting

Buyer Beware: Antique / Vintage Chinese Glove Puppets

"Antique" or "vintage" Chinese opera glove puppets can be found for sale on eBay, Etsy, and other online marketplaces. However, the convenience of buying such a puppet online can be more than offset by the risk when you have only photos on which to base your purchasing decision. Below are two examples of erroneously labeled "vintage" Chinese glove puppets with observations to help you avoid suffering buyer's remorse. Example 1: This puppet priced around $25 USD was advertised as being a "vintage item from the 1960s," made of "silk, porcelain, hair, pearl, and beads." Well, it is a perfectly respectable,...

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How to Pose Chinese Opera Glove Puppets for Photography and Display

Chinese opera glove puppet display Chinese opera glove puppet photography

How to Pose Chinese Opera Glove Puppets for Photography and Display

Because it is extremely difficult – if not downright impossible – to pose a Chinese opera glove puppet with one hand and take photos of it with the other, we have provided below simple instructions for preparing a stand to pose your puppet. You may like the results so much that you will keep your posed puppet on display 24/7! Step 1: Purchase or make a puppet stand. Usually, a puppet is sold with a stand consisting of a square or round base with an insertable rod tall enough to accommodate the puppet's height. Depending upon the quality of the puppet, the...

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The Five Grades of Chinese Opera Glove Puppets

Chinese opera glove puppet collecting Chinese opera glove puppet making Chinese opera glove puppet performance

The Five Grades of Chinese Opera Glove Puppets

Chinese opera glove puppets come in five grades of quality/value based on their attributes and uses. Knowing how these grades differ is important for puppet makers, performers, and collectors. By familiarizing yourself with the differences, you can ensure that you are purchasing or assembling the correct grade of puppet for your purpose and not overpaying in the process. Toy Grade: for play Head, Hands, and Feet: plastic Body: combined with costume (i.e., costume cannot be changed) Costume: machine-made; simple design Cost: inexpensive Notes: Toy grade is commonly referred to as a children's puppet; however, it is neither safe nor suitable...

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Chinese Opera Puppet Roles

Chinese opera glove puppet theater

Traditional Chinese glove puppet theater categorizes Chinese opera puppets into the following roles based on gender, age, character/personality, appearance, and other attributes. Sheng Roles are generally male characters and include generals, warriors, and scholars. Subcategories include: Lao Sheng: a middle-aged man such as warlord Liu Bei and military strategist Zhuge Liang, both major characters in "Romance of the Three Kingdoms." Wen Sheng: a younger, worldly, male scholar such as Hsu Hsien/Xu Xian in "Legend of the White Snake." Wu Sheng: a male acrobatic/fighting lead such as Wu Sung/Wu Song in "Water Margin." Hsiao Sheng: a Don Juan role such as...

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Anatomy of a Chinese Opera Puppet

Chinese opera glove puppet making

An Overview of Chinese Opera Puppets Classified as a glove, hand, or palm puppet, a traditional Chinese opera puppet consists of a glove-like, fabric-crafted body (usually 30 cm tall) with movable arms that is topped with a hollowed-out head. In addition, a Chinese opera puppet has cloth-sewn legs that end with shod feet. The puppet's body is manipulated by sliding the hand up the fabric pouch of the torso and inserting the index finger into the head, the middle, ring, and pinkie fingers into one arm, and the thumb into the other. The legs are manipulated either with the fingers...

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