The Traditional Puppet Art Museum of Sri Lanka

Creating one world through art and culture
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Puppets are an effective and powerful form of storytelling

The Art of Puppetry is found in many countries around the world and is unique to each culture. Sri Lankan puppet art is hereditary and the main reason for this is the social, cultural and religious correlation that exists in the Sri Lankan community. Traditional oblations, devil dances, healing rituals, and Kolam & Nadagam originating in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka have resulted in the birth of inherent puppet characters of Sri Lanka. There is some evidence suggesting the influence of the State of Rajasthan in Northern India on Sri Lankan puppet art. Sri Lankan puppeteers have created a tradition indigenous to the island by combining the art of puppetry with garments and masks associated with traditional baila, thovil, healing rituals and folk dance characters. On average, a Traditional Sri Lankan string puppet weighs between 5 to 10 kilograms, standing at 140 cm (or 4 feet, 6 inches) Several ritual dances including the 18 Sanni healing rituals, along with traditional and religious stories such as Vidura Jathakaya, Kalagola and Dikthala, and Ehelepola Kumarihamy are recreated by puppeteers. Each of these performances incorporates humour, fear, sympathy and satire through traditional music and dialogue to capture the attention of the audience.

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