The Czech Republic and Slovakia have proposed that UNESCO should add their traditional puppetry to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 

The director of the Puppet Museum in Chrudim (Eastern Bohemia) Simona Chalupová, explains how puppets have long been a source of inspiration for artists.

“At the beginning of the 20th century a puppet exhibition attracted the attention of young painters, they could see traditional marionettes on display that resembled humans, but at the same time they perceived them as moving sculptures, and so they wanted to make their own – and that was, I think, extremely enriching for the art of puppetry,” she says.

Today, in addition to the professional puppet theaters, there are some 3000 amateur ones in towns and villages all across the Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic has hosted an annual festival of amateur puppet theater since 1951, which is considered to be the oldest one of its kind in the world.

UNESCO’S Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is meeting from November 28 to December 2 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.