Hand Puppet

About this object

History of use

The puppet represents a character from a form of popular puppet theatre, found in northeastern Brazil, called mamulengo. This type of theatre is prevalent in disenfranchised communities with ancestral ties to colonized Indigenous peoples and uprooted, enslaved Africans. Mamulengo performances are entertaining events that can last all night long, with puppeteers (mamulengueiros) using 70 to 100 puppets in one staging. The stages are pop-up stands (empanadas), made of brightly coloured, floral-printed cloth. The shows consist of short sequences (passagens), or skits from popular stories that expose the inequalities and dramas of everyday life, profiling stock characters such as rich landowners and peasant labourers. The whole is spun together with humour, satire, lively music, and audience commentary.

Physical description

Hand puppet of a 'Minelvina' character (doll-like in form). The fabric body is light pink. Her face is white, and facial features are drawn. She has black eyes and nostrils, and a red mouth. She wears a long, shiny white dress that is gathered at the waist. Her feet are black fabric boots. Her red-brown hair is worn down, and worn under a white veil that extends the full length of her body.