The popularity of old Burmese puppet marionettes in Burma/Myanmar is still evident today. Evidence of their existence was first noted in 1444. Since this time the art of puppetry grew and became a popular form of entertainment for the Burmese people. Up until the 1870’s many of the puppets were worked with only a few strings, whereas the more modern puppets have many more. Between 1820 and 1885 puppet shows were at there best, although there was a brief revival around the 1940’s.
During the late 1950’s the Ministry of Burmese Union Culture often presented visiting foreign cultural delegations with rare sets of puppets, many of them had been used at the Mandalay court. By 1968 it is recorded that there were twenty seven active puppet theatres in Myanmar and around 50 lesser known theatre companies, some were booked for about a hundred performances each season.
Since sanctions have been lifted there has been a revival in this art form and it is now on the list of must sees for most foreign tourists visiting Myanmar today, especially the famous Moustache Brothers Puppets shows in Mandalay.