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Histoire de la marionnette

Relationship to Folk Religion

Even though puppet performances were designed to entertain the gods, the show itself was purely profane.

Nevertheless, the puppet master did have certain magic attributes, mostly to do with exorcisms.

They would resort to a string puppet representing Zhong Kui, used for purifying haunted places.

Other rituals could use glove puppets; these would take place outside the theatre structure, in the haunted place itself.

The ritual was a ceremony for the pacification of wandering souls, which were deemed to be responsible for such catastrophes as fires, floods or illness.
Burnt offerings to the gods during a puppet show

After the rituals the show would proceed normally, inside the theatre structure. Oblique reference to water could then be made if there had been a fire, to recovery if there had been an illness, etc.,

but the reason for the ritual was never again referred to during the show itself.

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