Traditional Puppet Art Museum

Among many forms of rural art in Sri Lanka, Puppetry is regarded as one of the most vibrant and enticing forms of art in Sri Lanka. Though its origins take us far back in history and no particular dates can be derived, it flourished during a time where entertainment was a scarce luxury. “Rukada Nettuma” as the locals call it, is a form of theatre and drama which a small makeshift theatre is set up in front of a small audience, and actors would voice the play along with the music while puppet masters orchestrate the right action – which then entertains the audience.

Apart from entertaining people, puppets were also used in traditional events and healing rituals. There was another popular form of puppetry that involved the use of masks called Vesmuna. These vibrantly decorated masks resemble a devil-like figure which people wear to perform the ritualistic devil dances. Locals believe that these rituals will ward off evil spirits and bad omens, and will help them prosper with wealth and good health.

As you now know the history of puppetry in Sri Lanka and some of its intricacies, it is time you should see these amazing crafts up close. The best way to do so is to visit the traditional puppet art museum. Being located in a suburb of Colombo – Dehiwala, the museum features puppets of all kinds of sorts and they vibrantly depict the history and heritage that is behind this traditional practice of art. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM. It is closed on Sundays and special Sri Lankan holidays.

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