Shandong Culture

Traditional puppet show goes hi-tech

( Updated: 2020-07-14

Traditional puppet show goes hi-tech

Li Xiuping, an inheritor of puppet show in Jinan, Shandong province, with her puppet [Photo/]

Li Xiuping, an inheritor of the Chinese puppet show, has combined traditional puppets with intelligent technologies to create a "puppet robot" as part of efforts to let more people learn about the intangible cultural heritage.

In 2006, puppetry was included in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage list approved by the State Council. The Chinese puppet show has a history of more than 2,000 years.

Li, a native in Jinan, Shandong province, and her husband have been studying modern technology to improve the external and internal structures of traditional puppets to create the "puppet robot", which is more portable for stage performance.

Traditional puppet show goes hi-tech

Li improves the puppet with robot technologies. [Photo/]

To reduce the weight of the puppet, 3D printing technology was used to make the heads of puppets. A robotics chip is then implanted into the body of the puppet, allowing it to perform certain moves autonomously.

"To learn how to perform using a 'puppet robot', a novice only needs about a day of training," Li said.

The exterior decor of the robotic puppet is no different from traditional version.

"The equipment used in traditional performances requires a lot of manpower and materials," Li said, "After integrating modern technology, the puppets are now much easier to transport to venues in mountainous areas and schools. "

"Many people have never watched the puppet show in real life and some just watch it on television. I hope that with these efforts, more people can get to know about this traditional performance.”

Li hopes live puppet shows will be as popular as movies in the future, and that such performances will be brought into communities, schools and villages.