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 Jupiter, Roman god of sky and thunder, king of the gods.

Iconographic meaning

Puppet representing Jupiter, as a character in the epic "Os Lusíadas" (The Lusiads). Jupiter was the god of the sky and thunder, and king of the gods in Roman mythology.

Physical description

String puppet (marioneta) of the character Jupiter. Puppet wears a long off-white cotton robe with gold coloured grasses hanging around the outside and a gold coloured crown made of individual curved strips of metal with dark blue stone pieces attached to each. There is a painted paper collar that wraps around his neck and down the front; the arms are similarly constructed; the hands are carved of wood.