THAI ROYAL PUPPET
The royal puppet, also known as “The Great Puppet” or “Hun Yai”, was first called by national artist Montri in his book on Thai traditional entertainments in 1952. Historical and literary evidence, which dates to the late Ayutthaya period or the reign of King Narai (1656-1688), suggests that royal puppet repersents the earliest type of puppet performance and had been continued until the reign of King Chulalongkorn or Rama V (1868-1910)
A great puppet is about 100 cm tall, adorned with costumes similar to those used in theater art performance and mask dance. It can be said that the royal puppet in an imitation of figures in the performing of theater art and mask dance. A puppet is made of hard, lightly wood and is consisted of different parts tied together by 16 strings.
To perform the show, there must be a number of puppeteers; each one of the puppeteers is responsible for a puppet. The puppeteer moves the strings to perform different actions of different body parts.
The royal puppet performance was in decline popularity during the reign of King Rama VII and eventually was out of sight after A.D.1932. To date, there are only 6 puppets left on display in the Bangkok National Museum. There were in bad condition when found but later underwent careful restoration by Mr. Chakkrabhand Posayakrit, andother well-known national artist.