An Overview
Multiple functions of Indian Puppetry
Skilled Craft of Indian Puppetry
Inanimate to Animate in Indian Puppetry
Creative Process for Indian Puppetry | Making of Indian Puppets
Making of Indian Puppet

Since the manipulation techniques, stage-sets, lighting arrangements and overall presentation methods are different among various categories of puppets, the making has to take into account these diversities.

Making of Glove Puppet

The glove puppet comes up to the elbow and is generally without legs. In order to lengthen the neck and two arms of the puppet, hard paper-tubes or bamboo tubes are attached to the puppet's body. The glove puppet's palms are commonly made of cloth, thick paper or papier-mâché. Wooden palms are
useful for clapping.

Making of Rod Puppet
The Rod Puppet, manipulated from below, has vertical and horizontal rods,
attached like a Christian Cross. The main rod is made of wood, bamboo, iron or
aluminium pipe. When mobility of the head, eyes, mouth and eyebrows is
required, wood is fixed with strings from behind, with elastics to allow the
original positions to be restored. For the body, wire or bamboo-structure is used, covered with foam or cloth padding. Stuffing cotton within cloth casing makes a simple body. Traditional puppets have wooden body. Another convenient material is foam, used by modern puppeteers as a vertical cylinder around the main-rod and a wire-ring attached at the bottom. Such bodies are useful to show four-legged animals to stand erect and walk on two hind legs with great fun! Hands for the rod puppets are made of simple coir or nylon rope. Often hand, made of cloth, is useful with cotton filling with the elbow-portion kept empty for movement. Besides, hands, made of foam or Thermo Cole, are also common.Carved wooden palms with inward curvature can hold or pick up objects easily.Legs are generally not shown for the rod puppet. If otherwise, the making process is the same as hands. Such legs are either hooked loosely to the main body or manipulated independently under the cover of the costume by another puppeteer. For birds, the tail and wings are made separately and hinged or loosely stitched together, -- for manipulation by strings. The bird's head, also made separately, is attached to the body with a spring or a manipulating rod passed through the body. For butterfly, bee, fly or any other insect, only wings need articulation. The figure for reptiles, fish or flower can be made a three-dimensional one and manipulated by attaching a rod or two.

Making of String Puppet

The Sring Puppet The string puppet uses vertical control for human figures, but the more common one is the horizontal control. Generally, an animal figure has strings on its shoulder, head, tail and legs. A human puppet has a pair of strings each on head, shoulders, legs and hands and one string at back. The dancer puppet has two extra strings on waist so that it can move its hip. All the strings are separate and moved by the slightest pull. Other than wood, cloth stuffed with cotton is used for making body, hands and legs. A good trick is to cover the nether portion of the puppet with a long, billowy shirt and eliminate the legs altogether! The figures are generally 18 to 36 inches in height for human beings. Since animal puppets tend to be big in size, lightwood or wire-frame or stuffed body are use in their making.

Making of Shadow Puppet

The Shadow Puppet The shadow puppet has regional variations: coloured and black-and-white. Deerskin is generally used in both forms, apart from goatskin. The raw skin is chiselled to remove hair and treated chemically to make it translucent. Traditional puppeteers copy designs from old puppets to ensure continuity of tradition, -- by a process of perforation for different designs. Bamboo-sticks or iron-sticks with wooden handles or thin umbrella-sticks are used for manipulation. Strings tie different body-portions together and a principal bamboo rod and two thin bamboo-rods are separately tied to the hands for manipulation.

Making of Contemporary Puppet

Contemporary puppets have a wide diversity and entirely depend on the genius of the puppeteer. Sometimes an extra-large puppet is made by foam or Thermo Cole and held by one puppeteer with a rod, and the two long arms manipulated by two other puppeteers with rods. Again, a puppet has a large head, made of foam, Thermo Cole or papier-mâché, stuck on the puppeteer's head. The puppeteer remains hidden under a huge robe with the puppet's hands being manipulated by two sticks or just his own hands. These are also useful in street-shows, -- apart from their popular use on the proscenium stage. The marotte, with a sticked head - made thermo Cole, papier-mâché or foam - and shoulders covered by costume, is manipulated by a puppeteer with his live hand as the puppet's own. Instead of the head-stick, the puppeteer uses his other hand to manipulate the puppet's mouth. One puppeteer or two manipulates simple Bunraku puppets, made of the same material. For long figures of reptiles, dragons and dinosaurs, several cardboard boxes or foam-bodies are mutually attached and colourfully wrapped with cloth or paper, -- with face and other features painted or glued on top. These puppets are gleefully held up by children and carried along to articulate movements. Contemporary shadow puppeteers either use traditional process or utilise materials like cardboard, PVC sheet, X-ray film, plastic sheet, or even coloured Gelatine. Cardboard figures are suitably perforated for black-and-white shadows or cut at specific portions for pasting coloured cellophane paper to cast colour-shadows. Joints for contemporary shadow puppets are made of wire, string, leather-strip or just riveted together behind the body for holding the puppet. Since shadows are a matter of projection on the screen, different images are created by cleverly manipulating objects.


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