String Puppet Item Number: 3351/6 a-g from the MOA: University of British Columbia


Opera dei Pupi puppet of the character named Bradamante, who is a female knight. Three-dimensional marionette carved of wood (part a) with detachable head (part b) that is mounted on a long, hooked metal rod. She wears a pink tunic, off-white brocade pantaloons, and a pink velvet cape with a silver fringe. She wears full armour with separate arm, wrist, shin guards, and a detachable neck (part c) guard. The helmet has a visor and is decorated with light pink feathers. The left wrist has a length of black-brown cord tied to it, which attaches a small circular gold shield to the forearm. The right hand is clenched in a fist, which a small silver-coloured metal sword with a straight blade (parts d-f) is inserted through. The threaded end of the blade also inserts through the eye of one end of a long metal rod (part g) with an eye hook on each end. There is a metal band across the bottom of each heel. The body is jointed at the elbows, shoulders, and hips – held together by fabric underneath her outfit.

History Of Use

Puppet (Opera dei Pupi) representing the character Bradamante. Opera dei Pupi is an internationally recognized form of marionette theatre from Sicily. Originating in the early 1800s, Opera dei Pupi is based on medieval romances and epic stories of King Carlo Magno (Charlemagne, 742-814 CE) and his Christian knights, who defended Europe against pagan and Islamic forces. The plays involve pomp and ceremony, unrequited love, violent battles and the death of puppets, as glinting swords clash, shining armour rings, bodies split and heads tumble. One example of a scene on stage is Orlando Furioso, which is based on the Italian epic poem by Ludovico Aristo, published in 1516. It shows King Carlo Magno calling forth his faithful knights, including the brave female knight, Bradamante, in preparation for battle. One at a time, he calls their names and sings their praises. On the edge of the scene lurks the villainous Agricane, King of Mongolia, who has captured Princess Angelica, whom Orlando loves.