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Puppets

  • By: Dina Sherzer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

As inanimate objects, puppets resemble, move like, and talk like the humans they imitate, parody, or mock. This interplay of similarity and difference, along with conventional and not so conventional aspects of puppets, causes audiences to laugh at them. Puppetry involves people looking at and reframing themselves and their social lives in a comical mode. This entry describes traditional and contemporary puppets and discusses the role of puppetry in culture.

Traditional and Contemporary Puppets

Shadow puppets are cut-out figures that are held between a source of light and a translucent screen or scrim. The cut-out shapes of the puppets sometimes include translucent color or other types of detailing. Shown here are Javanese shadow puppets (wayang kulit). In 2003, UNESCO recognized wayang kulit as a Masterpiece of Oral ...

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