Languages
Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Taiwanese puppets burned in fire

By Cindy Sui
BBC News, Taipei

Map

A fire at a warehouse in Taiwan has destroyed 400 of the island's best examples of antique cloth puppets.

It is a blow to an ancient art form which dates back centuries.

The fire broke out on Tuesday at the warehouse in Huwei, Yunlin County, where the rare, life-like puppets were being stored.

The puppet collection was one of the largest in Taiwan and belonged to one of its most well known puppet masters Huang Chun-hsiung.

Beloved

The blaze is believed to have been caused by flames from an agricultural fire.

Some of the puppets which were destroyed were beloved martial arts heroes and heroines more than 100 years old.

Others were so famous they had been given names.

"They were like movie stars," Mr Huang's son Huang Li-kang said.

Around 1,500 puppets in the warehouse were saved from the flames.

Entertainment

Cloth puppet shows originated in south eastern China's Fujian province centuries ago.

Before there were televisions or even theatres in Taiwan, puppet shows provided the main source of entertainment.

Troupes travelled from one town or village to another performing in makeshift theatres.

In modern Taiwan some puppet shows have been turned into television programmes.

But in recent years puppet masters have struggled to attract young people to learn their profession and to garner new generations of fans.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Historic 'reunion' of Chinese art
07 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan rejects 'looted' China art
07 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Chinese heads sold at YSL auction
25 Feb 09 |  Europe
Taiwan's museum of treasures
07 Feb 07 |  Asia-Pacific

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific