Wooden Puppets: Iconography and Iconoclasm of the Puppet Clown——2019世界木材日研讨会
国际木文化学会 | 1029 view(s) | 2019/08/22
报告嘉宾：Mary Kathleen Foley
University of California Santa Cruz, USA
This paper will discuss the iconography of the disruptive puppet clown usually carved from wood in hand, rod, and marionette theatres, tracing the relationships of the characters between Asia and Europe arguing that the figure may be linked with antinomian philosophies from Pasupati Hindus, to Malamati and Qalandari Sufi, and Buddhist tantric monks. The shows and puppet practitioners combined anti-establishment philosophies, broad humor, slapsticks, reed voice (swazzle), and music/dance in a series of short skit/interludes embodied by a disruptive clown puppet who often came to represent "national character" in the period of central state formation (Punch in England, Puchinella in Italy, Karagoz in Egypt, Mobarak in Iran, etc.). Wooden heads made the figures last as the puppeteers who manipulated them died. These iconic carved figures participated in a transnational clown archetype but changed to "fit" new language/culture borders. In Southeast Asian traditions this figure is envisioned as a god-clown. In Middle Eastern traditions he was influenced by heterodox Sufi ideology. In Europe he was, in the early modern period first associated Christian "devils" (Harlequin). With the rise of secular states, he often was accepted as representing the nation-state's common man (Punch, Pulchinella, Petrushka, Kaspar, Kasperl, Guignol etc.).
The performance model of puppets included carved wooden heroes who were easily transported to appear in a simple booth that might be set up on the street. This clown character was often paired with a sexy dancer (and/or an old wife who was often killed) in shows during which the clown confronted ghosts, skeletons, devils/crocodiles, as well as autocratic power. These puppet figures were often replicated in human theatre (sometimes via wooden masks worn by performers). An overview of the itinerant puppet troupes and their potential interrelationships along the "silk road" will be presented. One finds these clowns today carefully filed on the shelves of museums of puppetry in Munich, Sweden, Belgium, his wooden stick just out of reach in a time when traditional clowns and their iconic visages are often being usurped by foam sculpture which registers emotion more subtly for the TV camera, but like the plastic it is made of such dissolving with time. Wood holds in these figures' features the puppet history of the past while other materials melt away.