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
CREATIVE PROCESS FOR INDIAN PUPPETRY
Making of Puppet Head

A puppet is deemed badly constructed if it cannot carry out the actions required by its range of characters. The important part is for the figure to have positive proportions, clear carrying power or throw, and thoroughly reliable jointing and height. Action and movement are the prime factors of the puppet. Voice and speech are secondary components. Each puppet character must have its own identity -- easily recognisable from its costume, walk, movement and behaviour.

 

Different Puppet Heads

Head is an important adjunct of a puppet. For marionettes, rod and glove
puppets, head is made of different materials in India are as follows: paper-bag
head; improvised head made out of waste material; sock's head; soft head made by felt or cloth and stitched vertically with cotton filling; foam head and Thermo Cole head made quickly by sticking a large block on a rod and cutting it into shape by scissors. Eyes, nose and hair are added made of felt. Model head is made out of paper-pulp, papier-mâché and sawdust. Often, old newspapers are made into a string-tied ball and mounted on a stand, over which paper-pulp layers are applied to make a face. After the pulp has dried up, the ball is removed by cutting a back portion, which is glued back later. For, papier-mâché head, a clay model or paper-ball is made and, after it has dried up, small paper-pieces are glued layer by layer. The common process is to vertically halve the clay model and apply plaster of Paris to make moulds of each half. Once the plastering has hardened, the clay is taken out and the two halves of plaster moulds can be used to produce many heads of an identical kind later on. Traditional puppeteers make head from soft local wood, which is free from insects. A wooden cube of proper size is chiselled into proper shape, with a protrusion for the neck, and then rubbed with sand paper and coloured. In Indian villages, where solapith is available beside tanks and ponds, stems are glued and tied in bunch. After drying, a sharp knife is used to cut out the head, on top of which a thin layer of cloth, dipped in clay, is applied to achieve uniformity, -- followed by coating with colour powder. Terra Cotta is another medium to make heads by poor village puppeteers, -- with the clay slapped by hand or made out of mould, before baking in a kiln.

HAND DRAWING OF DIFFERENT PUPPET BODIES
Different Puppet Bodies

Puppet figure is a unity, -- in which the format of the body, proportions among
the various parts, the contour and configuration of the hands, feet and the head are parts. Facial expression is most important, kept as simple and true to the character as possible. Eyes are fixed in traditional puppets. The puppet's head moves to indicate the eye-movement rather than the eyes themselves. Size and colour of the eyes expresses a character. Ears disappear if the head is entirely covered by hair, as for dancing women. For marionettes, ears made stable and strong enough as the head string are attached often on the ears. Colour of the ears should resemble that of the body. Hair is an element by which we recognise the character. Sparse hair goes well with an old man, a bun on the top indicate a sage or a recluse, and so on. Materials like crape, foam, ropes, wool and threads are used to etch a character, with corresponding colours to catch the light. Hands differ from puppet to puppet; and are kept in harmony with the character. In contemporary puppetry, bare or gloved hands of the puppeteer are used as the puppet's hands, --- with near-human movement and achieving a telling effect. For animals, the palms become black paws. Tails are important for animals, in order to distinguish them. Costumes should express character in an appropriate manner, be suitable for the particular scene, go in tune with other characters and look apt in the stage setting and stage-lights. Shadow puppets indicate costumes through drawing and colour-shades, with their designs suggested through different patterns of perforation. Jewellery is an essential element of costume. The sizes of the ornaments are in proportion with the puppet-figure. Traditional puppeteers take costumes and jewellary from the folk theatre of the region. Colours, whether on the face or the costume, also signify a special quality. Blue is used on the faces of deities, such as, the god Krishna being always blue. Heroic characters like Rama or Arjuna being green or white, female characters like Sita or Draupadi being yellow and evil characters like Ravana (or a demon) being red or black. Particularly for shadow characters, these colours make them immediately recognisable to the audience and help in the story's smooth development Traditional puppeteers earlier used vegetable colours and are veering towards mineral colour now, in keeping with the market trend.

Different Body Joints of Puppet

Joints are needed to provide articulation and depend solely on the puppets
material. Mechanisms used in rod puppets are: pivot, hinge, screw eye, tongue-and-groove, and ball-and-socket. Wire, rope and string are used for shadow puppets. Cloth-joints are used for marionette and rod puppets. These joints are useful for neck, shoulder, hands and legs.

 

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