Generally speaking, scholars believe that the origin of puppet show is Quanzhou, Fujian, and the time is about the 17th century. In terms of later development, the puppet theater genre is difficult to distinguish because of its development area spanning Fujian and Taiwan, coupled with their respective development and exchanges in different periods. If the most rough point is to talk about performance style, it can be divided into traditional puppet show and modern puppet show. Under this classification, even in Taiwan, where puppet shows are still very popular, the audience for traditional puppet shows is much lower than that of modern puppet shows. The commonly known genre of puppet show actually refers to the genre of traditional puppet show.
Similar to the puppet show, the titles of the same kind of art are different in the north and south of our country. They are called “Gou Lizi” in Beijing, “Biandan Opera” in the Northeast, “Mu Nao Shell Opera” in Sichuan, and “Pole Shaman” in Xi’an and Lanzhou. “It is called “mantle play” in Eastern Fujian, “glove puppets” in Ningbo, and “puppet play” in southern Fujian, Cangnan, Chongming Island, Southeast Asia and other southern Fujian dialects.
When the puppet show originated, there is no clear textual research. Jin Dynasty Wang Jia’s “Supplementary Records” records: “The southern part of the South is the country of Fulou, and the people change with skill… or the music of the beasts in the palm, and the flexion between the fingers. The human form or a few minutes long, Or plural inches, the gods are sudden, and the mysterious is in the time.” Female scholar Ding Yanzhao once found a mural painted in the prosperous Tang Dynasty in the well-known Dunhuang Mogao Grotto 31 Grottoes “Nongchu”, which shows a woman raising her arm. , The use of fingertips to show children. Wang Jia’s description of the skills in the palm of his hand and the situation depicted in the Tang frescos are similar to those of today’s puppets. If they are of the same form, then the puppets or puppets should have appeared before the Tang or Jin Dynasties, but No clearer records have been found, and it is still difficult to confirm that the puppet show was first seen before the Tang Dynasty.
The origins of Cangnan’s single-stage puppet show are two types: the theory of northern entry and the theory of southern entry. The southern school of puppet show originating in southern Fujian is the Anxi school. It is said that it was introduced with Fujian immigrants in the middle and late Qing Dynasty. According to the artist Li Bulian, Lu Hong, a native of Wufeng Township in Cangnan, was one of the main genres of puppet play in Cangnan. An artist based in Quanzhou, Fujian. However, due to the long history and human beings, the puppet show has evolved into a multi-stage form in southern Fujian. There is no ancient single stage puppet show in southern Fujian. The origin of the single stage puppet show that can be preserved in Cangnan can only be traced back to the Qing Dynasty. During the Daoguang period.
According to the census, from the Daoguang period to the present, more than 50 puppet show artists with surnames can now be found in Cangnan. These artists are mainly divided into two genres: Lingxi School and Wufeng School, each of which has its own performance characteristics.
In the Qing Dynasty, Li Dou’s “Yangzhou Painted Boat Record” contained “…Using five fingers to transport three-inch puppets, the golden drums are noisy, and the idiom is called 颡子, and it is called a shoulder-carrying play.” The “shoulder and shoulder play” recorded is more the same as the puppet show in the form of performance.
Volume 72 of “Jinjiang County Chronicles” published in the Jiaqing period of the Qing Dynasty, “Following Songs and Folk Songs”: “There are people who practice Dongxiao and Pipa, and those who beat the beat, the heaven and the earth can be heard. The predecessors didn’t think of music and folk music, but I thought that the tunes of the strings and pipes passed down by the imperial Qing visitors were also the same. Another example is the Qiziban, the common name Tuban, and the wooden play puppet. Recently, there is a coincidence in the palm, the common name puppet show. Sing a performance, each into a syllable.” This It is the earliest record of the title of “Puppet Show”.
The history of the puppet show is quite long. It is recorded in the ancient Chinese books “Old Events of Martial Arts” and “Tokyo Dream Hualu” that there is a puppet show in the palm of the Song Dynasty court banquet. However, as far as the traditional puppet play is now familiar, the origin of the play is generally a legendary story from Quanzhou.
Legend has it that during the Ming Dynasty of China, a talented scholar Liang Binglin, who had failed many attempts, had a dream after praying for high school in a fairy temple in Jiuli Lake, Xianyou County, Fujian Province. In the dream, an old man wrote “Fame “Go to my palm” and leave. Liang Xiucai was very happy after waking up, and thought it was a good omen for the first time. Unexpectedly, the exam was also known as the Sun Mountain.
When he was disappointed, he began to learn the hanging silk puppet play from his neighbors and developed a doll that was directly put in his hands. With his literary accomplishment, he was able to export into chapters, and he was able to quote various barnyard official histories, which immediately attracted many people to watch his performance. The puppet show began to become popular locally, and Liang Xiucai’s reputation also rose with the tide. Only then did he understand the meaning of the phrase “fame goes to the palm of your hand”. In addition, there is another theory about the origin of the puppet show, which was created by Sun Qiaoren, a deceased scholar in Longxi County, Fujian during the Ming Dynasty Mu Zonglongqing (1567-1572).
The extension of puppet theater: In the middle of the 17th century, puppet theater has become very popular in southern Fujian, and a pattern similar to shoulder-to-shoulder theater has also appeared. The so-called shoulder play is that the performer shoulders the box and stage. After reaching a certain place, after setting up a simple stage, the manipulator hides under the cloth, and the simple wooden stage on his shoulder becomes a stage for a puppet performance.
In the 18th century, according to different performance venues, puppet theater not only appeared professional groups, but also divided into outdoor performances and internal theater performances depending on the performance location. Among them, the wild stage opera was invited by theatrical troupes to perform in various places, and later gradually became a performance for the purpose of welcoming the gods and thanking the gods for birthdays. The setting was relatively simple and the performers were few.
Although the inner stage opera performance method appeared in the 18th century, it really prevailed after the 20th century. The sceneries of the inner stage opera are more gorgeous, and there are more puppets and musical performers than the wild stage operas. However, under the impact of new forms of entertainment such as movies and television, after the 1980s, except for a few exceptions, internal Taiwanese operas have become quite rare in southern Fujian and various parts of Taiwan.
On the other hand, after the 1960s, internal stage dramas developed a stream of TV puppet shows. This kind of puppet show, which was set up in a TV studio and performed in the studio, not only became popular in Taiwan after the war, it caused a sensation. The performance media and venues even extended to cable television, video tapes, movies, CDs and multimedia after the 1990s.