Burmese Horse Puppet

c. 1900
$8,800 USD SOLD
W: 32.0" D: 11.5" H: 39.25"
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Once colorfully painted and tacked with brilliant saddlery, this wooden horse puppet likely starred in a puppet show as the mount of character from a Buddhist folktale or legend. Puppet plays were performed in Burma as early as the 1400s and reached the height of prestige and popularity during the 19th century. Using marionette puppets controlled by strings, master puppeteers created the illusion of movement and gesture to the delight of the enchanted audiences. Manipulating strings that were once attached to the horse's articulated legs, neck, and head, a puppeteer could make this horse prance and cavort as if it had a life of its own. This extraordinary puppet, discovered in the early 1990s along the Thai/Burmese border, continues to enthrall as a sculptural work of art. We love the realism of its horsehair tail, the raw beauty of its wood construction, and the inherent energy of its kinetic potential.

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