Nianbadu puppet show is a kind of marionette that introduced to Quzhou from Jiangxi province during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is inherited between master and apprentice and has been passed down 18 generations spanning across 500 years. The show retains its originality as it is rarely influenced by other artistic forms.
Nianbadu Puppet Show is similar to Wuju Opera. More than 100 handwritten scriptures for the puppet show and 40 stage props have passed down, all filled with the value for the studies on ancient opera, performing art, and folk customs.
During the performance, the artists manipulate the puppets’ hands, feet, head and mouth according to the story and read or sing the lines at the same time. There is also a group of artists playing musical instruments behind the stage.
All the performance props can be packed into a box. On festivals or during the slack season, the performers will take the box to villages and put on the puppet show on a table at open space or in a room.
Nianbadu Puppet Show was included in the “third batch of national intangible cultural heritage protection list” in 2011.