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Water puppetry art – Country culture on art stage

July 3, 2021

“Dear relatives… Do I have to confess my name?” It was thought that this was a special sentence that belonged to the Vietnamese Cheo village, but, on closer inspection, the above sentence was from Uncle Teu – a characteristic character that only appears in the art of water puppetry.

Water puppetry is a unique art born from the wet rice culture. Along with tuong, cheo, water puppetry is considered an art form with a high position in the national theater art. The quintessence of water puppetry is increasingly receiving the admiration of international friends and becoming the inspiration for many modern fashion designs.

History of water puppetry:

Most countries in the world have puppetry. But in Vietnam, puppetry has reached an artistic level with high spiritual value, associated with every festival since the ancient Vietnamese period about 2000 years ago. With water puppetry, the document recorded on the “Sung Thien Dien Linh Tu Thap” stele, the 2nd year of Thien Phu Due Vu (1211) during the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong, recorded a water puppet show performed to celebrate the King’s birthday.

Water puppetry is built from the thoughts and feelings of the working people, it represents the life and aspirations of the times. In the midst of the vast space of heaven and earth, with water and trees, the curved roof of the red tiled house appeared, the first water puppet theater stages were born, creating a unique harmony between people and nature. . Today, the art of water puppetry in Vietnam is not only preserved but also studied and exploited more deeply and widely.

Folk art of water puppetry – the inspiration in the design of Quynh

Back to the most rustic things

Over thousands of years of ups and downs, water puppetry has turned from a form of entertainment to the pride and indispensable spiritual food of Vietnamese people. The stage of water puppetry does not have splendid lights, but simply the roof of the temple, the banyan tree, the well,… the scenes that are deeply ingrained in each of us when it comes to our homeland, country.

From that starting point, QUYN orients itself to the purpose of bringing to customers the products that carry a familiar feeling. Similar to the art of water puppetry, borrowing folk stories, through the image of puppets to tell about the human situation, QUYN’s products are the embodiment of the user’s ego, the place where the ego is most clearly expressed. discreetly and subtly. At the same time, thereby spreading the beauty of folk culture – art closer to the young public community.

Color application

With the water puppets after creating the statue, it is painted, colored, and drawn to exude the folk and close spirit. Traditional values ​​are distilled, promoted and created to bring a feeling of freshness, kindness, gentleness, optimism, love of life, love of nature, love of people.. through the simplicity of the image. The blocks, lines, and colors remind us of hometown paintings with ink printed on dó paper.

In our country, artisans making water puppets and making woodcut paintings often use bright, pure colors or pairs of contrasting colors but not too many colors. With the colors: pink lotus next to blue, green, orange yellow next to lilac, bright yellow next to indigo, blue. Bold contours create life in raw, soulful imaginary images.

It is this that has inspired many of QUYN’s productions, depicting the characteristics of water puppetry, and fostering the vitality of the nation’s culture and art in every Vietnamese person.

The characteristic smile of water puppetry

A smile is a typical expression of the Vietnamese soul: an innocent smile, a benevolent smile, a hopeful smile. In the wet rice farming life, although there are difficulties and hardships, but the soul is open, friendly and respectful, it is a smile that reflects the pure soul of the countryside.

Because the purpose of the ancient water puppet wards was not for material gain, only the pure desire to entertain the villagers on festivals, festivals, and holidays.. as a spiritual reward that folk traditions for each other, encouraging each other to overcome difficulties in labor. It creates an art space that is close and full of hope for a beautiful life. The Vietnamese community finds happiness in working and sharing with the village community.

This is the endless and continuous inspiration in the design flow of QUYN. Discreetly expressed through a few small details, only individuals who are delicate enough will realize the artistic intent that QUYN wants to convey through the production.

Born in the heart of a traditional agricultural society, through a history of thousands of years of formation and development, water puppetry received and inherited the rich achievements of folklore, it is truly a cultural specialty. Vietnam. Since then, it has transformed into a starting point for many creative ideas of designers who are passionate about folklore, always aiming for the goal of spreading rustic beauty to the world.

Hanh Hoa.