Puppet Theatre from Formosa

In the 18th century puppet theatre (glove, string and shadow puppets) came to Taiwan (called Ilha Formosa or “Beautiful Island” by early Portuguese navigators) from China. On the island of Taiwan puppet theatre had its own unique development. As mainland Chinese traditions were preserved in Taiwan, so have fascinating new innovations been introduced in the 20th century, resulting in one of the liveliest puppet and music theatre cultures in Asia. At the present there are still over 300 professional traditional and modern puppet theatre companies active on the island, the majority being glove puppet companies. There is even a puppet theatre television channel that broadcasts daily puppet shows.

Puppet theatre in Taiwan is music theatre for the Gods, performed at lively temple festivals. At the festivals incense is burned, prayers chanted, fireworks are everywhere, and there is a huge banquet for the community, while puppet theatre is performed for the Gods and the believers.

In this internet exhibition we cannot take you on a voyage to a lively temple festival, but we hope you will have a good impression of the richness of Taiwanese puppet theatre. When the virus has disappeared, we cordially invite you to Tolosa to see the magic of Taiwanese puppet theatre for yourself.

The Taiyuan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum is the home of the Paul Lin collection, the museum founder. The collection includes over ten thousand puppets and related artifacts from all over Asia. The museum was founded in 2000, and is situated in Dadaocheng, the old part of Taipei. It regularly organizes exhibitions, workshops, seminars and performances in Taiwan and around the world.

Special thanks to:
Annick Hsiao, Chang I-Yuan, Yi-feng Chiu, Jin Fei Feng Marionette Theatre Company, Zhen Kuaile Puppet Theatre Company, Xiao Xiyuan Puppet Theatre Company, Massimo Godoli Peli, Anne Rodier, Chang Shihneng, Song Song Song Children’s and Puppet Theatre, The Puppet and Its Double, Kuo Chien-fu, Zhang Yifang, Puppet Beings Theatre, María San Sebastián, Toni Alcaide, Jordi Devis, Iñigo Royo, Xabier Ormazabal.

Centro Internacional del Títere de Tolosa
Ministry of Culture in Taiwan
Division Cultural of Oficina Económica y Cultural de Taipei in Spain
Taipei City Government Cultural Bureau

Executive Producer: Dr. Paul Lin
Curator: Dr. Robin Ruizendaal
Design: Rain Chan
Conservator: Kim Siebert
Project Manager: Liwei Huang
Exhibition Assitants: Massimo Godoli Peli and Anne Rodier

Collector and founder of the Museum Dr. Paul Lin

Taiwanese glove puppets

Tolosa Puppets International Center