It combines the techniques of both rod and string puppetry. They are made of wood and the strings for manipulation and are tied to an iron ring in which the puppeteer wears a crown on his head. This puppet dance is used to spread religious stories. The main themes are the stories from the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha and the Bhagavatha.
In this puppetry, the puppets are made out of cloth, wood, leather or other materials. The strings or wires are used to control the puppets, whose hands and legs were tied up to the strings. There are 5 to 8 members in the puppet show troupe. A single puppeteer presents the entire puppet show. The Bommalattam finger puppet dance begins with homage to God and continues with humorous stories. There is a character of buffoon which is extremely hilarious that displays fun and frolic.
This puppetry is also closely associated with religious and ceremonial events such as temple festivals and for the fulfilment of vows, thanksgiving for marriages and childbirth, or the welfare of the community. In earlier days, the puppet dance in Tamil Nadu was used to narrate religious stories, especially ethical stories. Bommalattam theatre has elaborate preliminaries which are divided into four parts – Vinayak Puja, Komali, Amanattam and Pusenkanattam
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