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Traditional Czech puppets seeking UNESCO bid

Photo: Wikicommons

The medieval tradition is often used to teach children the ways of adult life.


PRAGUE – The Czech and Slovak tradition of puppetry, which dates way back to the Medieval ages, has been offered up to UNESCO for consideration of cultural heritage status.

The notable wooden puppets, which are well known as a tool for teaching kids about the challenges of adult life, would be looking to join a wide list of intangible cultural heritage including Korean kimchi making, Indonesian batik and the famed Mexican string music known as mariachi.

Capturing the bid, it would also join the Czech cultural traditions of Slovácko Verbuňk (recruit dances), the Shrovetide door-to-door processions and masks (in the Hlinecko area) and the Ride of the Kings in the southeast.

The tradition of Czech puppetry is still going strong across the whole of the country, with the longest running puppet festival in the world still running in the town of Chrudim in east Bohemia.

“At the beginning of the 20th century a puppet exhibition attracted the attention of young painters, they could see traditional marionettes on display that resembled humans, but at the same time they perceived them as moving sculptures, and so they wanted to make their own – and that was, I think, extremely enriching for the art of puppetry,” the director of its Puppet Museum, Simona Chalupova, told Euronews.

Czech puppetry and marionettes have also become an industry in recent decades as a major tourist attraction in Prague with live performances and loads of shops selling unique and topical dolls.

According to Euronews, UNESCO’S Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage will be meeting from November 28 to December 2 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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