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Study Puppetry with a True Master

To promote the beauty of puppetry and better preserve this unique traditional art form, Taipei City's Cultural Bureau enlisted Chen Xi-huang, one of Taiwan's foremost puppeteers, as an advisor at the Puppetry Art Center of Taipei on September 26. Chen will be holding workshops on the third floor of the Art Center beginning in October to personally teach visitors how to master the art of puppetry.

 "It has been five years since the August 7, 2004, establishment of the center, which is dedicated exclusively to the display, performance, teaching, and collection of puppets and puppetry,” said Lee Yong-ping, commissioner of the Taipei City's Department of Cultural Affairs, during a press conference to officially announce Chen's appointment as an advisor to the center.

Lee said that her department hopes to make use of Chen's personal charisma and his familiarity with the art form to allow visitors to the center to experience the beauty of puppetry through personal interaction with a master.

The 80-year-old Chen is the oldest son of legendary puppeteer Li Tien-lu, who has been promoting puppetry around the world for years. Chen said that the level of artistry in Taiwan's hand puppet industry is among the highest in the world.

Nevertheless, fearing that the ancient folk art might not be passed on to younger generations, Chen said he has been focused on promoting the art form in elementary schools throughout Taiwan in recent years.

Earlier this year Chen established his own troupe called the "Chen Xi-huang Traditional Puppetry Troupe” to tour colleges around the island and promote the art, with the ultimate goal being to pass down the beautiful puppetry shows to the next generation.

To personally experience the master of puppetry and see Chen's amazing puppet manipulation skills, visit the Puppetry Art Center of Taipei every Tuesday morning and Saturday afternoon on the third floor, starting today.

Chen will also be holding workshops twice a week on every Saturday from October to the end of December, to teach attendees how to sharpen their puppetry skills and how to make a variety of figureheads for puppets, as well as the costumes and weaponry used during the puppet shows.

For more information, please call (02) 2528-9553、(02) 2528-9553 or visit the center's official website at www.pact.org.tw/English/