Emerging from rice agriculture, water puppetry has become a unique folk art. Each puppet is a work of visual arts and a unique product of fine arts. Bo Duong hamlet in Hong Phong commune (Ninh Giang, Hai Duong) is one of the cradles of water puppetry in the Eastern land. Receiving us on a year-end day, Nguyen Van Khoi, Head of Hong Phong Water Puppetry Troupe, cheerfully shared: “We have performed water puppetry for foreign tourists. They liked it so much that they kept going to the back of the water pavilion to see puppets.” Khoi took us to the house of artisan Vu Van Doan. Doan has already been 78 this year with snowy hair. When we came, he was chiseling a raw teu puppet. Scattered on the ground were many uncompleted puppets. Under the old artisan’s skillful hands, the blade of his chisel squeezed into each slit to take away unnecessary wood. From an inanimate chunk of wood, a teu puppet with a funny face gradually took shape. The more we contemplated, the more we realized that each puppet was a unique work of art. “We repair puppets all year round but only create new ones at the…
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