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Traditional Puppet Art, Sri Lanka

Puppet art has been spread into many countries over the world, but the Sri Lankan puppet art has a Sri Lankan hereditary. The main reason for this hereditary is the social, cultural and religious correlation that exists in the Sri Lankan community.

Traditional oblations, devil dances, healing rituals, Kolam & Nadagam which were built up in the southern province of Sri Lanka have basically affected to be born inherent characters of Sri Lanka. There are evidences to prove that the Sri Lankan puppet art had received basic influence from the Rajasthan Province of Southern India.

Sri Lankan puppeteers have created a tradition inherited to Sri Lanka while having a great skill to dance the puppets dressed with garments and masks connected with strings which are used for traditional Bali, Thovil, healing rituals and folk dance characters.

18 Sanni, healing rituals like Bali & Thovil, Dikthala & Kalagola story, Widura Jathakaya, rural characters like Gamarala, Gama mahage and Gama Diyaniya, kolam dances like Jasaya & Lenchina are played by these puppeteers. These puppeteers are clever enough to make humor, fear, sympathy and satire to the audience by presenting of dialogs, poems and speeches. Rural and urban areas of Ambalangoda is world famous for puppet art of Sri Lanka. These puppeteers belong to about 25 schools and most of them are residing Ambalangoda and Mirissa in the Southern Province and Kandy in the Central Province while the rest is spread all over Sri Lanka. There are number of stories that are used for a traditional puppet show and they use puppets belongs to about 20 varieties.

Height and weight of a puppet is about 140 cm. and 5-10 kgs respectively and around 10 craftsmen participate for a puppet show. They play traditional musical instruments while doing speeches and singings.

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Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha,
Pinwaththa, Dehiwala,
Sri Lanka

Tele:  +94 112  714  241

Last Update: 30-12-2014.

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