marioneta (Puppet)

About this object

History of use

Ten marionettes were made especially by Jorge Cerqueira for the Museum of Anthropology collection (see #2956/293-300 & #3105/1-2). These marionetas (string puppets) represent key characters—historical heroes and gods, sultans and kings, the dangerous storm, Adamastor, and the beautiful goddess, Venus, dressed in crimson—from the Portuguese epic, The Lusiads (1572). Written by the one-eyed adventurer and beloved poet, Luís de Camões, The Lusiads tells of the Portuguese discovery of a sea route to the East. The hero of the fantastical tale is the explorer, Vasco da Gama, who is either aided or opposed on his voyage by the Roman gods: Jupiter, Bacchus, Neptune and Venus. En route, Vasco da Gama’s fleet is welcomed by the Sultan of Malindi (Kenya) and bravely battles Adamastor, the gigantic storm, before arriving in India and meeting Monsayeed, the ruler of Calcutta (now Kolkata). Setting sail again, the Portuguese explorers stop to feast on the Isle of Love and afterwards journey on through the Indian Ocean, visiting parts of Asia and Africa. This character represents Adamastor, mythological character, embodiment of storms.

Iconographic meaning

Puppet represents Adamastor, a character in the epic "Os Lusíadas". In the story, during the voyage, the sailors face a variety of dangers and obstacles such as the fury of a monster in the episode of the Giant Adamastor.

Physical description

String puppet (marioneta) representing the character Adamastor, mythological character, embodiment of storms. The core of the puppet is a mass of dark brown cragged wood, cork, large strands of frayed rope and torn white plastic, as well as several small white shells. The monster's eyes are barnacle shells. Grey paint has been added to all elements in a few areas. Falling from this amalgamation is a long torn piece of black cotton fabric, also rubbed with grey paint in areas. A leather and rusted metal belt buckle is tied into one corner. Part b is a wooden control stick, carved at centre, with the handle painted to look bone-like. The control stick fits into the central piece of cork in the head.