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