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Chinese Puppetry

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Chinese puppetry (also known as puppet theatre) is performed in various Chinese dialects, depending on the region it originated from, with sponsors, puppeteers, and audiences congregating based on their native dialect and hometown. The art form came to Singapore with the influx of Chinese immigrants, and different waves of migrants helped shape the development of puppet theatre in Singapore.

Traditionally, puppet performances are staged mainly for deities. This religious context stemmed from the puppets’ origins as objects used in funeral rites as early as the Zhou dynasty. Today, puppet troupes continue to perform in religious institutions such as temples. Devotees may invite troupes to provide entertainment for deities in return for their blessing and protection, particularly during the deities’ feast days. In recent years, secular puppet performances have been staged in a bid to keep the art form relevant to a wider audience.

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