Get a Hartford Courant subscription for less than 29 cents per day


Water puppets resurfacing in Vietnam

Water puppets resurfacing in Vietnam

Puppeteers have delighted audiences across Asia for centuries, but in Vietnam this folk tradition has a special twist: Both the puppeteers and their lacquered wooden puppets perform in chest-deep water.

Working from behind a bamboo screen, the puppet masters control their subjects via long rods and strings, moving them along the liquid surface as they depict heroic fables or daily farm life, often with a humorous slant.

We recently watched one troupe of water puppets in action on a pond at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi as part of Viking Cruises' "Magnificent Mekong" itinerary. Fire-breathing dragons and beautiful princesses, sturdy buffalo and huge...