Every country and culture had its own type of puppet and used it for events like ceremonies or just plays. The art of puppetry implies a lot of hard work and an amazing craftsman to do the puppet itself. The modern puppet craze begun thanks to show like Sesame Street or The Muppet Show. While they are considered mainly for children, in the past the puppets were used in all types of plays and to entertain both young and old audiences. But there are not many people that know that there are multiple kinds of puppets and each one has its own characteristics and purpose in the world of puppetry. We have listed some of the main types of puppets in order to better understand this amazing art form and how they are used today.
Shadow puppets were basically used for the earliest type of cinema, like some historians will say. They were made of wood and they were some very basic shapes of animals and humans. They were used for plays in which the puppet and the auditorium would be separated by a paper wall. From behind the puppets there would be a very string light that would show the auditorium the shapes and motion of the puppets. This art form was very popular in Asia, especially in China. There are also records of this type of puppetry in Ancient Egypt.
These are basically puppets controlled from below using wood or metal rods. This is a very difficult type of puppetry and it requires a lot of work to master it. The puppets have movable joints that make the play much more realistic. This type is still used in Asia. Thailand has one folk dance that consists of two puppets that dance together. This is one of the most interesting folk dances in the world and it has a beautiful legend behind it.
These puppets are the ones that are still being used in the Sesame Street. Even here, there are multiple variations. There are the very small puppets that are used only on one finger. They were not used in the plays. They were made mainly as toys and they were very popular in the past. The hand puppet usually goes on the hand of the actor that controls the head and the arms of the puppet. It requires a lot of skills in order t make the movement of the puppet natural and realistic.
The large puppets are usually used in ceremonials and celebrations in many cultures. They can be attached to rods but there are also some that are attached to strings. The string puppetry is also very hard because all the puppets have movable joints. They are very hard to control, and this is why this particular type of puppetry is quite difficult to find nowadays. But the string puppet is also one of the most realistic types because the motion is very similar to the natural one.