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human or animal figure, generally of a small size and performing on a miniature stage, manipulated by an unseen operator who usually speaks the dialogue. A distinction is made between marionettes, moved by strings or wires from above, and hand puppets, in which the hand
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one of various types of puppets used in some kind of theatrical show.
A marionette simulates the human anatomy and is moved by strings that are attached to its head or joints. The strings are gathered together and attached to a control, or crutch. By holding the control in one hand and plucking the various strings with the other, the puppeteer controls the movements of the marionette. Another type of marionette is controlled by a metal rod that is attached to its head. The arms and legs usually hang freely and swing with the movement of the body, creating an illusion of walking and gesturing. Instead of a crutch, this marionette has a rod bent to form a wide hook. Marionettes controlled by rods are often one-third human height (in Belgium and Sicily). Most marionettes are made of wood.
Written records of marionettes go back to antiquity, and marionettes have been found in excavations. In Western Europe, marionette theater as a form of folk drama (presented primarily at fairs) was most fully developed in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Russian term marionetka is also used to designate a person, government, or state that is an obedient tool of another authority.
REFERENCESFedotov, A. Anatomiia teatral’noi kukly. Moscow-Leningrad, 1944.
Petite, J. M. Guignols et marionnettes, leur histoires. Paris, 1911.
L. G. SHPET