AGE: – Early to mid 20th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Teak Wood
DESCRIPTION: – Old Burmese puppet known as Princess Minthamee
HEIGHT: – 58cm
WEIGHT: – 1.15
Burmese Puppet Princess Minthamee
Old Burmese Puppet Princess Minthamee’s costume is decorated with sequins and glass beads, her hair is made from cotton string. For many hundreds of years fashion in Burma decreed that upper class ladies should adorn themselves in long trailing skirts, which were always sewn in two pieces the top part being of a richly woven material, while the bottom beginning above the ankles was of a coarser material and detachable for washing. On her wrists are are large bracelets sewn into the material. in this puppet there are three rows of glass beads around the wrists, around her neck are imitation pearl necklaces referred to as mok padee. These embellishments first appeared on Minthamee puppets.
It was only in the 1890’s that accessories from abroad were used for the principal characters, the chest arms and shoulders of the Mintha (Prince) and Minthamee (Princess) were covered with thick clusters of imitation gems. In this Burmese puppet there are only six strings, more modern puppets have many more strings, it is likely that these strings have been replaced over time. The strings had to be strong, if one snapped during a performance the troupe not only lost face but considered it a bad omen. If a string broke during a court performance the individual was liable to be punished. Usually at the end of a performance Princess Minthamee and the Prince Minthe sing a love duet which is loved by all. The best puppeteers are usually selected to perform this magnificent and artistic royal dance.