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Photographer's Note

Né il y a plus de 500 ans dans les Palais des rois birmans, le théâtre de marionnettes à fils "yok-taï", qui a connu son apogée au 17ème siècle, est la première forme théâtrale à avoir été autorisée à se produire sur des tréteaux à la Cour. Auparavant, il était inconcevable qu'un acteur domine physiquement un auditoire royal.
Au répertoire, 28 marionnettes principales racontent les histoires de la création de l’univers peuplé d’animaux fantastiques errant dans la forêt mystérieuse de l’Himawuntha (cheval Myin, démons verts Belu, serpent Naga et oiseau Garuda, magicien Zawgyi), de la fondation du royaume faisant apparaître roi, reine, princes et princesses, les Jatakas, 547 vies du Bouddha ou encore les fabuleuses histoires du Ramayana, une des plus anciennes légendes du monde, venue de l’Inde.
Actionnée parfois par plus de 60 fils et vêtue de soies, étoffes rares et bijoux précieux, la marionnette birmane, oeuvre d’art en soi, est une reproduction quasi-parfaite du corps et de l’âme des humains et des dieux.

In ancient times marionettes in Myanmar were more than the entertaining stringed puppets they are today. They were a form of medium to tell country folk in far-flung villages the happenings in the Capital. They were allowed safely to divulge bad news to the king when a live messenger would probably have had his head chopped off! And the king himself could reprimand members of his family in a much less direct manner so nobody would lose face.
Marionettes first made their appearance on the cultural scene in the 15th century according to written records and reached the peak of their popularity and power during the 17th century. The king patronised his own troupe, as did the queen, princes and other nobility. Other troupes would roam the country playing at Pagoda festivals, which are the country fairs of Myanmar: these troupes would include in their performances scenarios of what was going on in court circles, including royal scandals, much to the enjoyment of the villagers.
28 main puppets tell the stories of the creation of universe populated with fantastic animals, of the foundation of the kingdom involving the king, queen and princes, as well as the Ramayana, one of the oldest and fabulous legends of the world, issued from India

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Additional Photos by Patrick HUBERT (yquem46) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 5 N: 4878] (38688)
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