Water Puppet Item Number: 3127/7 from the MOA: University of British Columbia


Water puppet of a unicorn (or lion) character. Puppet is carved from wood with a large head painted gold, a wide nose, and a fierce moveable mouth barring white teeth. Eyes protrude from a scowling brow in front of a curling mane. Eyebrows are fan shaped and multicoloured, attached to the face by fishing line. The midsection is made of plastic tubing to enable movement, and covered by red cotton fabric. The rump of the animal is wood, with moveable yellow legs to each side and a raised tail of green and red curls at centre back. Tin is attached to the interior edges of the head and rump where they meet the red cotton midsection.

History Of Use

Used in a water puppet performance called "Fabulous Unicorns Playing with Ball", a mirror image of another water puppetry seqence-- "Lions Playing with Ball". Although these animals don't appear to have a protruding horn, the collector was assured that this character was meant to be a unicorn for that performance. Said to have been used in hundreds of performances.


Collected in 1994, in Ho Chi Minh City, by Jason Schoonover and Susan Hattori. The puppets were collected from The Traditional Water Puppetry Troupe, operating out of the Historical Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.