Puppet types

There are different types of puppets. One way of identifying puppets is knowing how a puppet is manipulated. 

The basic types of puppets include the  finger puppet, stick or rod puppet, shadow puppet, hand puppet, and string puppet.

FINGER PUPPET 

The finger puppet is placed on the finger or fingers of the manipulator (or puppeteer).

Finger puppets made from toilet paper roll and colored paper. [Photo from Teatrong Mulat collection] 

STICK or ROD PUPPET

The figure/character is attached to a stick or rod to be able to manipulate the puppet. 

Puppets made by members of Usbong Papet Baclayon (Bohol).

STICK or ROD PUPPET 

Rods are  attached to different parts of the  puppet (head and hands, for example) to make the puppet move.

Rama (left) meets Surpanakha (right) in Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas’ Sita at Rama: Papet Ramayana (Sita & Rama: Ramayana in Puppetry)[Photo from Teatrong Mulat collection].

HAND PUPPET 

A hand puppet is manipulated by inserting one’s hand into the cloth/body of the puppet. 

MOUTH PUPPET  or MUPPET

The basic structure of the muppet is similar to a hand puppet. The unique feature  of a muppet is its moving mouth.  Jim Henson popularized  the muppets in the television program Sesame Street. This program served as the inspiration in producing its Philippine version entitled Batibot in the 1980s. 

Muppets from the Quezon City Library Puppet Group [Photo from Teatrong Mulat collection]

SHADOW PUPPET

A shadow puppet may be a two-dimensional puppet made from cardboard or leather. The shadow puppet is placed behind a screen  and lit from behind.

Bulan in Teatrong Mulat’s shadow play Si Arao at si Bulan (The Sun and the Moon by Amelia Lapena-Bonifacio)[Photo from the Teatrong Mulat collection]

Another term related to shadow puppet is shadowplay which involves actors, who may be wearing masks, moving in front of a light source.

Ang Pagong at ang Tsonggo (The Turtle and the Monkey by Amelia Lapena-Bonifacio) [Photo by Khai Sound & Visual Crew Production, Singapore, 2012]

STRING PUPPET

The puppet is attached to strings and manipulated from above. 

String puppet on display at the ASEAN Cultural Center, Bangkok, Thailand (2017)[Photo from Teatrong Mulat collection]