Water Puppets!

Vietnam is very much a water culture. That is, the country has a very very long coastline and much of its industry is water based- such as fishing and growing rice. During the rainy season both the Red River and Mekong Deltas fill with water and leave the soil fertile when the waters recede.

One art form that has resulted from this water culture is the water puppet theater.

The puppets are fashioned from wood and the puppeteers stand in water thigh to chest deep behind a screen and manipulate them from behind via the use of bamboo rods under the water. The puppets are fairly primitive looking but the puppeteers are able to make them do amazing things- they dance, they throw and catch, they even have fire-breathing dragons! The stories come from Vietnamese folklore and history. It may not be high art, but it is fascinating and definitely worth seeing.

Here is a wonderful article about the water puppets we see in Hanoi on our Shai Bar Ilan tour to Vietnam/Cambodia!

Here is one outdoor water puppet theater.

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