Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Creepy Dolls

In my last post I ended with the creepiest of the modern-style puppets (布帶戲)on display at the Red House Theater in Ximen. He was sort of a Chucky Meets Puppet Clown Meets Eastern Orthodox Priest Zombie, and utterly terrifying:

"Take your Communion, little Josef, and then I shall EAT your BRAIN."

But that exhibit had plenty more than Happypants the Exorcist Clown above. There were placards and signs with history and artistic notes on the puppets, but I won't repeat anything here. You'll have to go see for yourself.

There was also this guy:

Regal as he can be with Christmas lights on his head. And this guy:

...who is thinking very unhappily of something. Near him is one of the puppets that actually resembles traditional bu dai xi:

This guy and his monster/goblin/immortal/spirit brethren show up a lot in antique puppets and traditional shows. Unlike the guy below, who is quite unique:

...and seems to happy to have a foot on his head. Not nearly so serious as...

...this guy, who really needs a vacation. As for the puppet below, I once took a photo with far too much flash of a statue of Chiang Kai Shek, and it came out looking somewhat like this guy:

No really, it did:

Well, I think it did, anyway.

The guy below reminds me a lot of the demon Ravana from the Indian epic the Ramayana (sort of like the Odyssey of Indian literature. I consider the Mahabharata to be more like the Iliad, and it makes one wonder if the tradition of two great epics, one about a war and the other about a dashing adventure, has some sort of subconscious basis (but then Chinese literature has for epics and they don't quite fit those roles), or if those stories are rooted in extremely ancient Indo-European myths that are far older than we ever imagined.

Anyway, Ravana, Taiwan-style:

And for good measure, a random missionary?

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