5 differences between puppets and marionettes

5 differences between puppets and marionettes

Looking for a fun and original Christmas gift? No need to look further, get your loved ones or your friends and acquaintances a marionette! But wait, is it not just a kid’s toy? There are actually key differences between these two, and before you render marionettes simply a gift made for a child, get to know them and the main difference between marionettes and puppets.

A famous Czech tradition is the making of marionettes and puppets. We pride ourselves on being the experts in the industry, including the secrets of the technology behind marionettes and the precision it takes to perfect one and breathe her to life.

Did you know that the term marionette and puppet are not interchangeable? All marionettes are puppets but not all puppets are marionettes. Here are five key differences you should know:


1. Control


A puppet is controlled by a puppeteer. Usually in a form of a sock or a cloth that is put on the puppeteer’s hand, or in some cases, in a form of a toy on a rod, which also sets it in motion. A marionette is a type of puppet controlled by a sets of strings, which is much more complex and requires a bit of skill.



2. Usage


Although today it is possible to use both puppets and marionettes in any manner you please, historically they were each used for specific purposes. Puppets have been used during many religious instances and rituals, whereas marionettes played a huge part in adult theatre and morality play. Nowadays, you will find both used for mostly entertainment and storytelling.



3. Origin


According to historical artefacts, puppetry originated in India, used mostly to tell stories of their historic figures and saints. Marionettes are mostly known by the masses as an Italian or French product of the Middle Ages, however, there has been evidence that simplified marionettes were made much earlier, in Egypt, 2000 BC, and later then even used in Archimedes’ teachings.


4. Material


Both puppets and marionettes have been made from various different materials through the ages, however, nowadays, if you are looking for an easy distinction, no better place to start than with the material. Classic and most popular hand puppets are made of soft fabric, resembling a sock, or another well known kind, rod puppets, are usually toys attached to a rod. Marionettes are made of wood, or of wood imitation due to using 3D printing technology. Their “bones” are always made of a tougher material, as a soft marionette would be very difficult to manoeuvre. 


5. Types and styles

Since marionettes are a subcategory of puppets, let’s explore other types of puppets that you might come across. The most common include: Finger Puppets, Hand Puppets, Glove Puppets, Shadow Puppets, Rod and Arm Puppets, Stick Puppets, Ventriloquist Puppets and Sock Puppets. However, marionettes do not have such subcategories, but rather different styles according to the country they have been made in. Each country making marionettes has their own style, the most popular being: Sicilian Marionettes, which are very simple looking and made out of wood, Czech Marionettes, which are much more complex and detailed and Burmese Marionettes, which are colourful string types and a popular form of art for the natives.


Now that you are a marionette expert, enjoy browsing through our e-shop: https://www.marionettes.cz/en-CZK/shop-marionettes 


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