Today’s feature is another little curio that has followed me from place to place, always there, always peeping out from a nook, a sort of household hanger-on and watchdog for that around him. A ghoulish looking fellow, with his white body, red fingernails and shortage of top hair. But puppets don’t always get to look like Johnny Depp.
I suppose at one time the puppet master had a wardrobe for his little man on strings, and dressed him up for whatever the repertory of shows called for. Perhaps he traveled around to different villages presenting his shows to the children. Or perhaps he performed at festivals and on holidays. It’s next to impossible for me to say with any veracity what the particulars are regarding the puppet’s history. I bought it from an old man sitting beside a cart piled with bits of this and that on a back alley somewhere in Bangkok. An odd, battered wooden puppet, white and ugly with body paint musculature and red red lips. No conversation between us; a gesture or two, a spread of fingers telling the price, and for the equivalent of a dollar or two the puppet was mine. There is not a mark, a sign or any hint on the puppet to suggest a history. It’s all in my head, and colored with the ribbon and fluff of imagination.
From the time I first brought it home, the puppet has lounged in one of its several poses somewhere around the house, moving about as I imagine it would were those wooden arms and legs real. I like to imagine it has conversations with its household brothers and sisters, chatting with the toaster about the smell of eggplant, and scolding the heavy book for slipping and knocking over a bottle of ink.
The photos here show the not quite Pinocchio doing his duty and guarding the fruit, hanging out with a bottle of Herbin 1670 and enjoying some downtime in a quiet corner.
An interesting fellow.