In China puppet theatre has always vividly reflected societal and cultural values with beautifully carved puppets, music, drama, and eloquent language, costumes and adornment while assuming a major role in religious rituals and honoring major life and historical events. Puppetry using rod, string, glove and shadow puppets, reached its height in the Qing dynasty when it became closely associated with local opera forms. Story plots include history, religious and supernatural events, deities and legends, romances and even courtroom cases accompanied by flutes and drums Although Chinese puppetry diminished after the Cultural Revolution, traditional puppet theatre is still performed by private and state sponsored professional and amateur companies in rural and urban areas with Chinese and Taiwanese government support in recent decades to preserve puppets and theatrical performances.

Of the many types of puppets, our collection soon will include marionettes, puppet heads, stick, rod and shadow puppets, primarily from Indonesia and China.

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  • Antique Female Puppet Head on Frosted Acrylic Stand, China (5275EOK) $295

    H: 8.5″  W: 4″  D: 2.75″ | FREE SHIPPING!

    Antique Chinese puppets were often made in several parts with removable heads. This antique carved head of a beauty has delicately painted features and an animal hair braided down the back. Since there is an area without hair towards the back, she likely originally wore a hat or headdress.  A hole on top probably accommodated strings.

  • Antique Puppet Head with Top Bun, China (5274BCE) $495

    H: 22.25″  W: 7.25″  D: 5 ”  |  Call 213-568-3030 for shipping cost

    This antique male puppet head was carved from a single piece of wood, and like most puppets, has a tapering neck. With a well carved calm, peaceful expression, downcast eyes and half-smile, it could have been for either religious or secular purposes. The thin ridge on his forehead indicates it was likely used for various of roles in different stories.

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  • The Taoist Queen Mother of the West with a 3 Phoenix Headdress (16804BCK)

    H: 14.75″  W: 4″  D:  4.5″  | FREE SHIPPING IN CONTINENTAL U.S.!

    This unique carved head is the Queen Mother of the West, the first Chinese deity to be represented in Chinese art and the most important female deity in the Taoist pantheon. Carved from a single piece of wood, it is either  a puppet head or was attached to a larger figure. Her headdress has three phoenixes instead of her iconic single phoenix. Having a cavity on the rear of the head is rare indicating it might have been consecrated by a Taoist monk.

  • Vintage Bearded Doll Official-Dancer Acrylic Stand, China (1301B-EAO) $195

    Ht: 8.75″  D: 4″  D: 3.125″: | FREE SHIPPING

    This delightful doll mounted on a frosted acrylic stand is dressed as a bearded official wearing a traditional ‘spread-wing” official’s hat. Originally mounted on a wood stick seen under his attire, he wears a dark blue and gold robe with a loose black, red and silver official’s belt and boots.  Although dressed as a Chinese official, he is clearly an entertainer. He holds a set of paper clappers – Kuaiban – meaning “fast boards,” a two-millennia old Chinese castanets-like instrument made of bamboo or wood slats tied together which entertainers rattle, shake, or clap together to produce a complementary sound or beat. This piece is in excellent condition with expected signs of wear and use in the clothing and minor paint losses.


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