A Children’s Puppet Show, a painting by Liu Songnian. Puppetry has traditionally been a popular rather than an elite art.

Puppetry began as a performing art in ancient China. Its high point was the Qing period (1644–1912). Although puppetry survives in the twenty-first century, it has declined in recent decades. Several different forms exist, including rod puppets, marionettes, and shadow plays. Some features differ according to region, but the stories tend to be the same across

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