String Puppetry

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 7, 2023, 12:17

The word 'Puppet' is derived from the Latin word 'Pupa', which means doll. India is known for String Puppetry and is the 'Puppet Capital of the World". The entire sport presents a captivating experience, and several artists can unleash a massive potential in the space.

There are several old references to puppetry in the Silappadikaaram, a Tamil Classic. String Puppetry has been a part of India for decades and has historical importance to the country.

Origin of String Puppetry

In India, String Puppetry has long piqued curiosity for educational and amusement purposes. Puppets with sockets have been discovered in the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro excavation sites, indicating the presence of puppetry as an art form

The earliest recorded reference to puppetry is the Tamil classic Silappadikaaram, which was composed between the first and second centuries BC.

Although puppetry has been mentioned in mythology and art, it has seen a continuous drop in popularity due to a lack of a dedicated audience and financial insecurity.

Forms of String Puppets in India

There are several types of string puppets in India. All of these Forms of String Puppets in India have their importance. Let's have a look at these forms:

Kathputli, Rajasthan

  • In this kind of String Puppetry, the dolls are made of one single block of wood
  • These dolls are then decked up in Rajasthani dresses
  • Also, Rajasthani music is played while these puppets are made to dance to those tunes
  • In this case, there are no limbs, and five strings are used to manage the puppets

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Kundhei, Orissa

  • Orissa's string puppets are composed of light wood and adorned with long flowing skirts
  • They feature a lot of joints and are very manoeuvrable
  • Kundhei's outfits are similar to those used by Jatra traditional theatre actors
  • The music is generally based on regional popular tunes and is also influenced by Odissi

Gombeyata, Karnataka

  • These puppets also are string puppets, and they move with the help of strings
  • The dolls are dressed in a way that they resemble the characters from the Yakshagana, which is a traditional theatre form in the region.

Bommalattam, Tamil Nadu

  • Here, both string and rod puppets are used, which makes it unique
  • The dolls are tied to a string tied to a metallic ring, and the artist holds the ring or wears it in their hands and then makes the puppets dance
  • The preliminaries for these plays are pretty elaborate, and they are conducted in four parts, namely, Vinayak Puja, Komali, Amanattam and Pusenkanattam

There are different forms of puppetry in India, out of which String Puppetry is the most popular one. Apart from string puppets, there are several other puppets like shadow puppets, glove puppets, rod puppets, etc. You should know about these art forms as they are essential from an exam's perspective.

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FAQs on String Puppetry

Q1. What kind of String Puppetry is famous in Rajasthan?

Kathputli is a form of String Puppetry famous in Rajasthan.

Q2. In which states are String Puppetry popular?

String Puppetry is quite popular in the states of Orissa, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Q3. What are the different forms of String Puppetry in India?

There are different forms of String Puppetry in India. Some of them are Kundhei, Gombeyatta, Bommalattam, etc.

Q4. What is the String Puppetry of Karnataka known as?

The String Puppetry of Karnataka is known as Gombeyatta.