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 'Doutor (doctor) Pindura Saia' character. Head and hands are carved from wood and painted. He has pink skin, almond-shaped black eyes, a large nose, a closed mouth with purple-grey lips, and adhered black and full beard. He wears gold-rimmed glasses. His fabric body / tunic is a light red and white gingham with brightly-coloured plant patterned sleeves. The fabric covered foam tubes are adhered to the hands. Operated by inserting a hand inside the body of the puppet to control its head and movements.