Tue, May 16, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Hsinchu show features 80 puppets

By Hung Mei-hsiu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Hsinchu City God Temple volunteer Lien Yu-chi holds a hand puppet he made at City God Creative Culture venue in Hsinchu on April 26.

Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times

An exhibition featuring hand puppets of the deities venerated in the Hsinchu City God Temple is being held in the city.

More than 80 puppets are on display at City God Creative Culture, a venue near the temple on Changan Street in the North District (北區).

Lien Yu-chi (連又旗) has been a volunteer at the temple for 30 years, where one of his many duties involves washing the temple statues’ beards, which are made of human hair, a task for which he has been featured on media reports.

Lien said most of his puppets are of the gods at the temple.

Although he has no formal artistic training, Lien said he is a puppetry enthusiast and his creations are of a high fidelity to the temple statutes, because he is familiar with every particularity of their construction.

In addition to the gods at the City God Temple, Lien also created a variety of puppets styled after divine figures that are popular in Taoism and folk culture, including the Eight Generals (八家將, bajiajiang), the Third Prince (三太子), Guan Gong (關公) and the legendary monkey king Sun Wukong (孫悟空).

It took 90 days to make the puppets, during which he developed a case of dry-eye syndrome, and the City God Creative Culture venue was established specifically to host his creations, Lien said.

Making puppets is an expression of his devotion to the gods and commitment to passing on the art of traditional puppet-making, he said.

Puppet-making is a cultural heritage worth preserving, he said, welcoming visitors and students interested in learning how to make puppets to visit.

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