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Jeremy | all galleries >> Yesteryear's Old Photos ... >> Travel Images - Myanmar (Burma) >> Yangon (Rangoon) > 'Yok Thei Pwe' (Dec 06)
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'Yok Thei Pwe' (Dec 06)

'Yok Thei Pwe' or marionette (puppet) theatre in Yangon, at the Htwe Oo Mynamar (Traditional Puppet Show).

This is a uniquely Burmese theatrical form. The puppets are manipulated on stage by master puppeteers, some with as many as 60 strings.

Puppet theatre in Burma had its foundation not long after King Hsinbyushin's conquest of and return from Ayutthaya with the Siamese court dancers. The king's son and successor, Singu Min, created a Ministry of Fine Arts, and gave his minister, U Thaw, the task of developing a new art form. In 18th century Burma, modesty and religious etiquette forbade the depiction of intimate scenes on the stage. Further, many actors refused to portray the future Buddha in the 'Jataka' tales, considering this to be sacrilegious. U Thaw got around this by getting wooden figures to do without prohibition what human beings would not do. And thus, the 'yok thei pwe' was born.

But the 'yok thei pwe' is a fast disappearing art in Burma. Few puppeteers perpetuate the art. Today, it is most often seen at temple festivals (including the Shwedagon Pagoda festival) and at tourist-oriented marionette theatres in Yangon and Mandalay.

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Guest 14-Jan-2007 10:40
Super sharp image & well composed. Cheers.
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