Suzume-San The Sparrow, Rod Puppets
60.SUZUME-SAN THE SPARROW HAND PUPPET
The little bird's body should be cast in papier-mache for lightness. Her wings are cut from cardboard or moulded Celastic and attached loosely to the body. They can be decorated with real feathers, as can the tail. Three stiff wires are needed for control from below: one to support the body, one to control each wing tip.
Construction can become very complicated. Figure A suggests a rod puppet with the operator's hand inside the body, the finger controlling the head, the arms controlled by rods. Figure B suggests a head on a dowel, controlled by the operator's hand inside the body. Figure C shows a fully articulated rod puppet body made of cloth and wood. The weight of the puppet is carried on a control wooden dowel running up between the legs and through the body to a point just above the shoulder yoke. The neck rests on the extension of this dowel, leaving the head free to move right and left. The head can also be made to nod with a control wire attached at the back, as shown. The control rods on hands and feet are attached loosely to eye screws to allow free movement. They should be both light and strong and can be made from umbrella ribs or bicycle spokes for lightness and strength. This body is made of cloth stuffed with kapok and tacked to the two wooden pieces at the shoulders and hips. A good marionette book will offer further details on fully articulated bodies. Also, see No. 76.