20 June 2012

Old Chinese Puppet Master

In the South Sing Dynasty (1127-1279), the troops of the King Kingdom launched an assault on the Central Plains. Lu Deng, the general of the border district Lu'an Prefecture found it difficult to conquer the enemy due to their large numbers. He sent for help from the Central Government, but before the reinforcements arrived, his city was lost.

Refusing to surrender, Lu and his wife committed suicide in loyalty to their country. When the enemy entered the city, however, the soldiers of King Kingdom captured Lu Deng's infant son, Lu Wenlong. To their astonishment Lu Deng's dead body remained standing. King Wushu, Marshal of the King Kingdom, performed Kowtow to him in admiration of his royalty, (bowing his head to the ground), but still his body stood.  So, King Wushu adopted the counselor's advice and made promises before Lu Deng's body that his army would not disturb civilians nor flirt or insult women, but still Lu's body stood. Finally King Wushu adopted the counselor's advice again and promised to adopt Lu's son and raise him. Upon completing the promise, Lu Deng's body finally fell down.

I was truly privileged to witness and film Master Puppeteer Mingdong Lin of the Guangdong Wuchuan Single Puppet Troupe perform this rod-puppet Chinese Opera at the International Intangible Cultural Heritage Park in Chengdu. This one-man was truly an inspiration and worth coming all the way to China for. The old puppeteer's energy, musical and performance skills were remarkable to say the least.

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