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Vietnam water puppets. Source: Kalyakan / Adobe Stock.

Tourism Keeps Vietnam's Ancient Water Puppets Afloat (Video)

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Vietnam's water puppet tradition is a captivating art form that has been cherished for centuries. Originating in the rice paddies of the Red River Delta, this unique cultural expression dates back to the 11th century during the Ly dynasty. The performances are held in small, waist-deep pools of water, with skilled puppeteers deftly maneuvering wooden puppets on long bamboo poles. These intricately carved puppets depict characters from folklore, history, and rural life.

The performances are accompanied by traditional music, singing, and an orchestra of traditional instruments. The water acts as a stage, adding an element of enchantment to the show as the puppets appear to glide and dance on the water's surface. Symbolizing the agricultural roots and the close relationship between the Vietnamese people and water, the water puppet tradition is not merely a form of entertainment but also a significant cultural heritage that reflects the nation's history and values. To this day, it continues to captivate audiences from all over the world, preserving Vietnam's rich cultural legacy.

Top image: Vietnam water puppets. Source: Kalyakan / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

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I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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