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Mamulengo hand puppet of a 'Caboclo de lança' (warrior with spear) character. Carved from wood and painted. He has light pink skin, small nose, small moustache and an open mouth with thin red lips. He holds a small white flower in his mouth. He wears a shiny gold outfit with a sequined and beaded poncho overtop. The front design features a blue upper half with a red, green and gold rainbow over a gold dot at centre, and a white lower half with a red cross at centre. Each sequin has a clear bead sewn at centre. The poncho is lined with tassels, alternating between red and gold-yellow. On his head, he wears a red headdress with shiny plastic garland in blue, gold and red and a light blue chin strap. Under the back of poncho, he wears a board covered in orange fabric, with two metal bells attached to each lower corner. He holds a long flag in his left hand consisting of various brightly coloured ribbons wrapped around the staff down the entire length. His boots are painted black.

History Of Use

The puppet represents a character from a form of popular puppet theatre, found in northeastern Brazil, called mamulengo. This type of theatre is prevalent in disenfranchised communities with ancestral ties to colonized Indigenous peoples and uprooted, enslaved Africans. Mamulengo performances are entertaining events that can last all night long, with puppeteers (mamulengueiros) using 70 to 100 puppets in one staging. The stages are pop-up stands (empanadas), made of brightly coloured, floral-printed cloth. The shows consist of short sequences (passagens), or skits from popular stories that expose the inequalities and dramas of everyday life, profiling stock characters such as rich landowners and peasant labourers. The whole is spun together with humour, satire, lively music, and audience commentary.

Item History

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