Preservation of Rach village’s water puppetry

(VOVworld)-Rach village in Hong Quang commune, Nam Dinh province, is famous for its water puppetry troupe. The vitality of the folk art despite ups and downs of life has been attributed to local people’s efforts in handing down the arts through generations. VOV today reports on the preservation of water puppetry in this village.

Preservation of Rach village’s water puppetry - ảnh 1

Water puppetry is the most popular art genre in Vietnam due to its uniqueness and attractiveness. Appearig 10 centuries ago in the Red River Delta, water puppetry is a typical cultural feature of Vietnam’s wet rice civilization. The water puppetry troupe of Rach village, known as Nam Chan water puppetry troupe is one of the 3 most popular troupes in Vietnam. Hoang Cong Khuong, Director of Nam Dinh Province’s Center for Tourism Promotion says: "Rach village in Hong Quang commune is the cradle of water puppetry art in the north and some of the villagers were among the founders of the Central Water Puppetry Theater. This art troupe was founded long ago and has preserved traditional cultural characteristics of the art genre through stories closely associated with people’s daily lives and work activities. The art is often performed at village festivals in the Red River Delta".

Preservation of Rach village’s water puppetry - ảnh 2

The water puppetry festival in Rach village is held every five years on the 16th day of the first lunar month. The festival, dedicated to the village genie- Linh Ung- who founded the art, celebrates water puppetry. In the past 6 centuries, 20 generations of water puppetry artists in the village have carried on this unique folk art. Among them, the Phan, Dang and Pham clans have been the main contributors. Local people are proud of their local art. Phan Van Niem, one of the village’s senior puppeteers says: "Generation after generation in the village has been committed to preserving the water puppetry art. Senior artists hand down their experience to the younger generation".

Puppeteer Phan Van Me was born into a family that has practied puppetry for 7 generations. His father, Phan Van Ngai was one of the founders of the Central Water Puppetry Theater. Phan Van Me says: "The water puppetry art has been in our blood since we were born. When we were small, we followed our grandfathers and fathers to perform the art elsewhere and gradually we became passionate about it and later, I joined the water puppetry troupe. Though I have never learned sculpture, I can create puppets by myself as I have played with them since my childhood. Now, I can make puppets, paint and decorate them and perform with them".

There are 15 water puppetry troupes in the Red River Delta, most of them delivering similar performances. But in Rach village, the performance of “Pulling the fish to honor flowers” is unique and always inspires viewers. Puppets usually remain 2 to 3 meters from the stage curtain, but puppets in Rach village can go to a distance of 30 m.

Preservation of Rach village’s water puppetry - ảnh 3

Visitors to Rach village are often treated to lively water puppet performances in the village pond or under a banyan tree.  

To Tuan