The traditional puppets are beautiful sculptures. The heads, hands and feet are traditionally made of camphor wood, which repels infestation by woodworm. While traditional puppets are still produced in Taiwan, the main carving industry focuses on the larger Golden Ray puppets. Tens of thousands of these puppets have been produced over the past 70 years. The wood for these puppets is much lighter than the traditional camphor wood. And the life span of the larger Golden Ray puppets is much shorter than the traditional type. Nowadays even machine made puppets are produced.
The different steps of how to connect a puppet head to the body
Young puppet carver Xu Junwen
Old photographs of famous puppets Shi Yanwen (centre); Liu San, (left); and Two-tooth (right) by carver Xu Bingyuan
Famous modern and traditional puppet head carver Lai Yongting at work