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The shadow puppets are manipulated by eight or more artists behind a long cotton screen.
The shadow puppets are lit from behind by 21 oil lamps made of coconut halves, placed equidistantly on a wooden beam behind the screen, causing the puppets' shadows to fall on the screen.
In Taiwan, budaixi puppet shows, somewhat similar to the Japanese Bunraku, occur with puppeteers working in the background or underground.
Some very experienced puppeteers can manipulate their puppets to perform various stunts, for example, somersaults in the air.
The puppets are built out of wood and the shows are performed in a waist high pool.
A large rod under the water is used by the puppeteers to support and control the puppets.
Chikamatsu Monzaemon, considered by many to be Japan's greatest playwright, gave up writing Kabuki plays and focused exclusively on the puppet-only Bunraku plays.
Vietnam developed the art form of water puppetry, that is unique to that country.Tholpavakoothu puppet plays are based on selected verses from the Tamil epic Kamba Ramayana.As a ritualistic art form, Tholpavakoothu is performed at more than 100 temples in the Palakkad, Trichur and Mallapuram districts of Kerala from January through May on specially constructed stages called koothumadams.The language used in Tholpavakoothu performances is a dialect of Tamil along with Sanskrit and Malayalam words.Performances are traditionally accompanied by musical instruments from Kerala such as the chenda, madhalam or ezhupara (a cylindrical drum made out of jackfruit wood and covered with calf-skin on both ends), ilathalam (cymbals), shankha (conch), chengila (gong), kurumkuzhal (a double reed wind instrument) and cherukuzhal.