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Glove-Puppets-art - 7/15/17


"Glove Puppets" by HL Nidda Ridarelli.


NOTE: See also the files: puppets-msg, Stories-4-Beg-art, theater-msg, Pfm4High-Tble-art, Entrtng-n-SCA-art, woodworking-msg.





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Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Glove Puppets

by HL Nidda Ridarelli


Research based on the images found in the Roman du bon roi Alexandre Manuscript by Jehan de Grise, France 1344.



Roman du bon roi Alexandre illuminated manuscript at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, showing two puppet booths.

These images may be the only depiction of glove puppets within SCA period.








A   puppet is defined as an inanimate figure that is made to move by human effort   before an audience (Baird 13). Some hand puppets, called glove puppets, were   controlled by putting a hand in the puppet and moving the head and arms with   the thumb and fingers (Bohmer 15).  Others, called rod puppets, were similar   but had a rod inside, and sometimes a second rod connected to the hand or arm   of the puppet that would be used to control movement (Bohmer 37).  The   theaters or booths for both types of hand puppets were made like the ones   pictured above. The puppeteer would be able to stand and hold the puppets   above his head or have his head behind the domed part of the curtain   (Jurkowski 61).







Who used puppets?




Vagrant   puppeteers, who were not considered artists, would not have thought to write   anything about themselves or their craft. They may not even have known their   birthday (Bohmer 6).  Given their audiences it is not surprising that there   is not much written about them.




In   the Castilian court in 1273 a distinction was recorded to mark the   specialization of performers. The lowest class of performers was known as the   cazurros, "persons who neither speak nor sing, but who train animals and   handle puppets" (Jurkowski 54).  They often had their puppets interact   with trained monkeys (Jurkowski 55).




Itinerant   minstrels brought biblical instruction and entertainment to rural areas   (McIsaac 20).  Puppet repertoire was all inclusive (Joseph 59) and reflected   the tastes of the people in the land in which they performed. They were also   used for satire and were the first impressionists (one who does impressions   of famous people). Traveling puppet players would perform anything of   interest and popularity to the populace. Many puppet troupes played at   private parties in wealthy residences (Joseph 56). Other vagrant performers   were at the mercy of the lord of the land to determine what they would   perform, although, they were always able to gain an audience at any public   fairground or crossing (Jurkowski 68).







What characters were made?




Some   characters have been religious figures (Jurkowski 71). The Nativity and the   story of Noah were popular puppet plays. Other popular figures have been the   Devil and, toward the end of period, Punch. He was earlier known as Vice in   the morality plays (All the Year RoundPunch and the Puppets pg 517 April 27,   1872).




The   Clergy also used puppets to enact Mysteries of Mid-August (Baird 64).   Throughout the Middle Ages puppets were widely used to enact the scriptures   until they were banned by the Council of Trent in the 1540's (Currell 8).




There   is nothing known about the puppeteer or puppeteers in the manuscript   illuminations. The puppet show with the men watching looks like there many   have been two or more puppeteers since four puppets are visible on stage. The   two outer puppets could be on stands and one person performing the battle   scene. It is unclear from the image but the booth looks as if it could   accommodate at least two puppeteers.




The   ladies puppet show looks to be more relaxed and engaging, possibly involving   a dialog (Jurkowski 61). It could also have been of considerable length as   the women have seated themselves to watch.




Who made them?




Vagrant   puppeteers made their own puppets (Bohmer 6). Puppets were made of any   material that existed in period, just like we might use a paper bag or sock.   Glove puppets would have had a textile body and head and possibly the hands   could have been made out of any suitable and available medium (Bohmer 67).   Materials that could have been used are wood, clay, and ivory (Currell 8).   When puppet play had evolved to the point of theater use, a theater or troupe   would have had them made and had costumes made for them (Urban 580).





How were   they made?




Since   the documentation of puppets is difficult (I have yet to find anything that   applies to puppet making specifically) I have researched wood working tools   and sewing methods. Tools available in the Middle Ages include the bow saw   (Mercer 153), and the paring chisel which was sharp enough to be used with   hand pressure or a mallet (Mercer 166). The woodcut shows a carpenter's shop   with a saw in use and chisels on the wall.




Some   common sewing stitches used for medieval hand sewing are the running stitch,   the whip stitch and the back stitch (Crowfoot 153-158). The puppet body can   be made using rectangular construction and any of these stitches.




B√∂hmer's   book, The Wonderful World of Puppets is a catalog of the Puppet Collection of   the City of Munich. This catalog has collections from Europe, Africa and   Asia. The book shows that the oldest puppets still in existence consist of a   wooden head and textile body. This tells me that they were either the most   prolific type or the most durable. The oldest puppets in the collection are   from Japan and they are from the 17th century.








Archeological   Journal: Researches into the Early and Middle Ages. Archeological Institute   London 1848




Baird,   Bil. The Art of the Puppet. A Ridge Press Book, Macmillan Company, New York,   1965




Bohmer,   Gunter. The Wonderful World of Puppets. Plays Inc., Boston, 1969




Currell,   David. Puppets and Puppet Theatre. Crowood Press Ltd., Ramsbury, Marlborough,   1999




Hone,   William. The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England.William Tegg,   London, 1867




Joseph,   Helen Haimen. A Book of Marionettes.B. W. Huebsch, New York, 1920




Jurkowski,   Henryk. History of European Puppetry: a history of European puppetry from its   origins to the end of the 19th century. Edwin Mellen Press, Ltd., New York,   1996




McIsaac,   P.J.. The Tony Sarg Marionette Book.B.W. Huebsch, New York, 1921




Urban,   Sylvanus. Gentleman's Magazine: Vol. CCLXV, July to December 1888. Chatto   & Windas, Piccadilly, London 1888




Virtual   Puppet Museum   http://www.teatrodeldrago.it/MUSEO%20VIRTUALE/museo-virtuale2.htm




Crowfoot,   Elisabeth; Frances Pritchard; Kay Stanilard. Textiles and Clothing   1150-1450Medieval finds from Excavations in London: 4. Boydell Press,   Woodbridge, London, 2001




Mercer,   Henry C. Ancient Carpenters Tools. Dover Publications, Inc. New York 2000






Copyright 2014 by Danni Nidda   Thorniley. <dannidda at gmail dot com>. Permission is granted for   republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.   Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the   author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.




If this article is reprinted   in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found   this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself,   so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org