It is well worth a visit if you are ever in London. So why am I writing about it today? This is a rendering of what it will look like when it is finished:
The photo on the left was taken of him just before I took proud ownership.
I later acquired another marionette at the Thai-Burma border to keep him company — the Nat spirit. Yoke Thay marionette theatre has existed in Burma since the 15th century.
In the 18th century, the royal court began to formally sponsor and regulate marionette performances and by the 19th century numerous troupes were commissioned and maintained by the royalty. The height of popularity for Yoke Thay was between and when it was considered to be far superior to live theatre because of the high degree of technical skill and the perfection of execution reached by the puppeteers over the centuries.
A Burmese marionette troupe typically includes 28 puppets representing human beings, mythological figures, spirits and animals; a little orchestra of traditional instruments played live by 6 musicians; dancers; story tellers and singers.
Links to short videos of Burmese marionette theatre can be found at the end of this post.
For a very quick preview of a contemporary performance, click below: The marionettes are manipulated through strings controlled from above, displaying all the traditional artistic elements of Burmese puppetry: The figures are carved in such detail that even the chin and knuckles can be manipulated by strings.
They can range in height from 30cm to 1m, with the average puppet being 55cm. The plays are staged on simple raised platforms with decorated interchangeable backdrops. Puppeteers are visible from head to waist so that the strings, controls and hands of the puppeteers are visible during parts of the performance.
A small orchestra of traditional instruments cymbals, drums, brass and bronze gongs, bamboo clappers and shawms plays sitting in front of the audience. As in their traditional form, the play begins with the mythological creation of the world and the animals; it proceeds with the establishment of the Kingdom and the human beings.
In the second part of the performance, one of the Jataka Tales is enacted, stories about the past lives of the Buddha.
Each Jataka symbolizes a specific virtue such as honesty, wisdom, love of a son for his parents, etc. These stories feature kings, princes and princesses, hermits and wise men who undergo all kinds of adventures.
A happy end is mandatory: The performances are open air shows and usually last all night. Marionettes displayed in the shop at Shwedagon Pagoda Traditionally, marionettes were used as a medium for educating people in literature, history, religion, lifestyle and customs as well as informing subjects of current affairs.
The plays also functioned as a conduit between the subjects and the king. An event or warning for the royal court could be depicted by marionettes without fear or threat to human lives.
Marionettes could also portray the Buddha, sacrilegious for actors at the time. These wooden figures were given the sanction to portray roles and facets of life deemed unsuitable for public, such as demonstrative displays of affection.
The Basic 18 characters of the original band include: Brama Byarmar Animal Characters: Black elephant Sin Net 9.
Prince Min Thar Princess Min Tha Mee King Bu Rin Their costumes are more dazzling than in former times but the characters remain the same. New Burmese marionettes in a shop at Mae Sai More new marionettes for sale at Mae Sai You can find photos of more marionettes from Burma and elsewhere here.
Videos of contemporary Burmese marionette theatre can be found at the following links:Yoke Thay (Myanmar Marionettes) is the traditional string puppets of Myanmar. Myanmar Yoke-Thay is the blend of sculpture, painting, costuming, embroidery, and dramatic arts.
Being a form of arts where many kinds of arts converge. Evidence has shown that the Burmese marionette tradition Yoke Thay appeared several centuries ago around Throughout the next years, approximately from to , the practice gradually matured and increased in popularity.
Burmese Marionette Tradition Yoke Thay - Essay Example Posted on By admin Posted in Design However, with the increasing complexity of the plot, more characters were added. In traditional Burmese marionette theater, a string-puppet-based performance art called yoke thay She founded the Mandalay Marionettes Theatre in the s to keep this tradition alive while.
In the play, a puppet starts to offer a cigarette to a friend but his cough gets the better of him, which makes his voice a bit funny-sounding — eliciting peals of laughter from a roomful of a. A Burmese marionette troupe must have 27 characters, including a king, animals such as horse, elephant, tiger, monkey and parrot, ministers, prince and princess and buffoons A hsaing waing, a traditional Burmese orchestra usually provides the music.
Burmese marionettes are very intricate and dexterous as they employ 18 (for male characters) or 19 (for female) wires, each puppet controlled .