World Encyclopaedia of Puppetry Arts

Logo Unima


[This preface is from the hard copy edition of 2009.]

The Union Internationale de la Marionnette (Unima) is one of the oldest international theater organizations in the world. It celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2009.

It is with great pleasure and pride that I can say that our association has honored the principles it cherishes by bringing together people from all over the world who contribute to the development of puppetry in order to serve by this art human values, including peace and mutual understanding between peoples, regardless of their race, political or religious beliefs, the diversity of their cultures, in accordance with respect for the fundamental rights of the human being, as defined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948.

The organization started with a small number of passionate people in 1929, in Prague, and in other European cities. Today [2009] we have 64 strong and growing national centers on five continents.

True to its spirit, Unima, along with its many commissions, national centers and thousands of members, works to promote the art of puppetry, breaking the boundaries, not only geographical but also artistic, trying to provoke ideas from innovative artists, artists of all disciplines, researchers and many students interested in one of the oldest and most inspiring forms of art in the world.

The World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Art, is a gigantic and detailed study of our mode of expression, focusing on traditions, styles, techniques, personalities and creative work, in either form. A lot of time, sometimes interrupted by difficulties, was devoted to finalizing this final compilation of the arts proper to the puppet theater often defined as “the art of giving life to the inanimate”.

However, as you can see from these pages, the content offers much more than this description. The World Encyclopedia of Puppetry presents life in all its impassioned dimensions, from the cycle of birth to death and even beyond; it talks about the humility of creation using shadows, strings, pieces of wood; of the mind endowed with the power of the imagination, of the rebellious spirit of man; but also the myriad of religions and beliefs of our civilizations. Above all, it pays homage to souls who believe in the art of telling and spreading the history of mankind.

At the dawn of printing the work on paper, I realize that we finally have a lot of information to update, our collection having ended a few years ago. This could become a goal for the future: to update recent data when translating this Encyclopedia into other languages ​​and to make it an adaptation for the electronic media. I am sure that this publication will stimulate the desire of those who have not been able to collaborate on this project for various reasons.

We want it to be used by young students, academics and researchers interested in the art of puppetry and its history. We are proud of the idea that Unima, its collaborators and its sponsors have been able to render service to the reader public, in all its diversity, by publishing this Encyclopedia. I would like to thank the various French territorial authorities for their support of our association, mainly in the Champagne-Ardenne Region and the City of Charleville-Mézières where we are fortunate to have our head office.

I would like to thank all the members of the Unima who contributed by their dues to bring about this gigantic work which will, I hope, make better known through the object of our passion the Puppet, history, traditions, but also the questions and the works of our contemporaries.

Long live the art of puppetry and long life Unima …

Dadi D. Pudumjee
President of Unima