Education About Asia

Water Puppetry in Vietnam: An Ancient Tradition in a Modern World

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Water Puppetry in Vietnam

An Ancient Tradition in a Modern World

PRODUCED BY SAM PECK

31 MINUTES, COLOR

BERKELEY MEDIA LLC, 2012

Water  puppetry arose in the Red River delta and other rice-growing regions of northern Việt Nam a thousand years ago, during the Lý dynasty. Villagers staged water puppet performances to celebrate the end of the rice harvest, at religious festivals, and simply for entertainment. Today, watching a performance of this unique folk art has come to be mandatory for tourists to Việt Nam, where water puppet shows are often held at sophisticated theaters in major cities, such as Hanoi. Troupes have also been brought to the US for Asian cultural festivals. Few visitors travel to the rural Vietnamese countryside to see the water puppet shows in the settings for which they were intended, the rice paddy deltas.