children, collectible, marionette, puppet -

Puppets on a String

I was fortunate enough to visit the beautiful city of Prague last month, and I must say, the old town was like a fairytale village. Apart from the awe-inspiring architecture, the tasty trdelnik, the fantastic Christmas markets and the entertaining Black Light Theatre shows, what I fell most in love with were the marionettes!

They came in all shapes and sizes, from modern day influenced to old-fashioned (and sometimes quaint) puppets from yesteryear. There were witches, ballerinas, dragons, devils, fairies, knights, fairy tale characters, and even Michael Jackson and Harry Potter!

Telling myself that I should bring a marionette back as a remembrance of Prague, I stopped for a look at every opportunity but I never saw anything that pulled at my heart strings....until I chanced upon a little shop tucked away among the streets and spied this little girl.

Marionette of a little girl

Her smiling face captivated me I stepped into the shop for a better look and found girls and boys with different coloured hair, eyes and clothes!
Now how could I not get a pair?

The puppets on a string that had me on a string...

Aren't they adorable?!

Marionettes are puppets that are controlled from above by strategically placed strings attached to the limbs and head.

Picture courtesy of

In the case of my little-boy and little-girl marionettes, the strings are attached to the knees and hands, while a firm strong wire controls the head and helps hold the puppet in place.

String attached to the hands
String attached to the knees

The head is attached to the body by a hook at the end of the wire. This can easily be removed if (as in my case) the puppets had to be packed safely to make the journey back to Penang.

The hook at the end of the metal wire that attaches the head to the body

The wire and strings are attached to controls above. If you look closely at the second picture below, you will see the signature of the artist who painted and made the marionettes.

The controls above the puppets
The signature of the creator
I love the attention to detail in the painted features. The eyebrows, eyelashes and the twinkle in the eyes are intricately drawn and coloured. The teeth and lips look pleasingly natural, as do the slight browning of the boy's cheeks and pinkish blush on the girl.
Intricately painted faces

The legs are made of wood, and the arms are strings, while the body, head and hands seem to be made of a type of plastic compound.

Wooden legs and shoes

It would be nice to be able to make my own marionettes, and although it is not simple to make, it is not terribly difficult either...specially with directions and tips from some websites.

Picture courtesy of

Until the moment when I have sufficient time to try my hand at making my own marionettes, I'm ecstatically happy with these two little cheeky tykes from Prague.

Interesting fact:
Did you know that marionettes were named after the Virgin Mary?
Marionette means  "little Mary" in French.
One of the first figures to be made into a marionette was the Virgin Mary, hence the name.
Find out more about marionettes here

Links on how to make marionettes:

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