Bringing Puppets to Life

Bringing Puppets to Life

Born in the village of Thach That in Hanoi which is filled with ancient puppet legends, the elite artist Chu Luong has lived with puppets since childhood. After 20 years of traveling to the northern villages of Vietnam for his research works, Chu Luong has become one of the most famous puppet designers in Vietnam.

Artist Chu Luong and his puppets. Photo: Files


Cute puppets, bobbing water, and resounding drums have become unforgettable in Chu Luong’s heart. “Puppets are so simple and there are too few people to notice. The puppetry art is the beauty of life that we don't appreciate,” said Chu Luong.

Therefore, the artisan decided to revive water puppetry. He went to nearly two hundred villages in the North to meet puppetry artisans to learn their stories.


His puppet collection includes numerous of forms of Northern water puppetry art with thousands of water puppet characters. Beauty is associated with the art of water puppetry stemming from the life of peasants. Those simple faces of farmers in the northern countryside inspire the spirit of water puppetry.

With a wealth of knowledge about water puppetry, Chu Luong has recreated a series of extremely unique water puppet characters in a variety of shapes and colors.



Chu Luong successfully restored a group of characters including four immortals of Vietnam and five princesses from the Dai Viet era. The artist has skillfully blended the beauty of the princess and tragedy in simple puppets. In addition, Chu Luong has made thousands of different puppets portraying farmers.

“With traditional puppets, I simply wanted to create a world of sharings, sadness, aspirations, and beauty in the life of farmers,” Chu Luong said.


Story: Ngan Ha/VNP Photos: Khanh Long & Files Translated by Hong Hanh