Boy on a Buffalo Water Puppet

This boy on a buffalo is part of a water-puppetry ensemble that includes a master of ceremonies called Teu, a dragon, a lion, and a fairy. He has moveable parts and thick colourful painted exterior. The buffalo’s head is joined by a strip of rubber-tyre inner tube – an ingenious method of recycling materials. This puppet appears in a pastoral scene of tending buffalo. The origins of water-puppetry are thought to date to the 12th century although it is possible that it was a folk art that developed even earlier in the rice-farming villages of north Vietnam. The stories enacted include spiritual and popular themes that are closely related with rural life.