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Pulling on the puppets’ strings in Quanzhou, Fujian province

Updated: Nov 12,2015 10:17 AM

Puppetry has a history of more than a thousand years in Quanzhou, Southeast China’s Fujian province. And as the city hosts the 14th Asia Arts Festival, this art form is front and center. Performers have come from all over the world to pull on our heartstrings as they pull on the puppets’ strings.

Lion dance, horse dance, three little mice stealing oil, singing shrimp in the deep ocean. The puppeteers are conjuring all this and more from their imaginations. It’s an art form that speaks to the heart, even when it’s in a foreign language.

And German duo “The Fifth Wheel” present a show of singing gypsies. In a career of more than 20 years, they have been “on the wheel,” traveling to various countries in Asia, but they feel very much at home in China.

And then came the heavy hitters of the event, the host city’s puppet troupe, who present a program entitled “Cheerful Festival”.

Puppet art has a history of more than a thousand years in Quanzhou. It’s a traditional art form requiring extraordinary dexterity, as the puppeteer may need to control up to 30 strings for a single character.

The Chu Lou Shan Puppet Troupe from Taiwan have inherited a similar tradition, while taking the art form in new directions.

These special performances are part of the 4th China Quanzhou International Puppet Festival. As one of the key sections of the 14th Asia Arts Festival, the event brings 25 troupes from 14 countries and regions to showcase the best of world puppetry.