Hand Puppets

Ping Pong's Wonderful World of Puppets



The traditional hand puppets seen here got off to a somewhat later start than Shadow & Rod puppets - although where or when their mysterious birth occurred is still debated today.

The hand puppet today is generally made of a hollow cloth body with a head and hands and/or feet made of wood, porcelain or china, or papier mâché.

These well-known little guys and gals have probably been around since the invention of socks - and that was a very long time ago.

The hand puppet show is the most common type of puppet theater throughout both the ancient and current worlds.

Ancient paintings from China often show large puppet stages with colorful characters from mythology and religious stories, weaving their magic for the Emperor and his guests at dinner parties and state affairs.

Not only were the rich and famous entertained in this fashion in the orient, but beautiful painted manuscripts often feature hand puppets in European countries as well. Plenty of children and simple country folk alike all seemed to enjoy these fast-paced little plays.

Sgt. Prescott & Nasty MacSnarl

Punch & Judy


Shown to the left is an American set of Punch & Judy hand puppets. It is interesting to trace the familiar character of Punch and find his counterpart in the puppetry of almost every country except America.

In England he was known as Punch, in France as Guignol, in Germany as Hans Wurst, Jack Sausage, or Kasperle, in Italy as Punchinello, in Turkey as Karagheuz or Black Eye, in India as Viduska, in Persia as Ketschel, and in Russia in Petroushka.

The same set of characteristics are found in each one of these characters regardless of the country. By that I mean the hook nose, usually the humpback, and the mischievous nature. In America, we have Punch himself, but no nationally known figures, unfortunately, of similar character.


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