I have loved miniatures since I was just a miniature human being myself. I enjoy seeing things completely out of scale and marveling over ridiculously tiny, intricate details. Dolls and puppets fascinate me because they are inanimate objects, usually made out of humble materials (plastic, wood) that seem so alive you can project many things onto them (I’d be happy to live in Uncanny Valley). I’ve posted about Re-ment miniatures from Japan, the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan (袖珍博物館) and Blythe dolls here before. Three and a half years ago my Uncle Daniel took Ron and me to Changyifang (彰藝坊), a traditional glove puppet puppet studio (or bùdàixì, 布袋戲), near Yongkang St. Back in 2007, Changyifang’s handmade puppets and bags were sold at Eslite Dunnan. Last year, they converted their studio into a store and moved all of their retail operations there. I recently returned to Changyifang to profile its founders, husband-and-wife team Chen I-tzu (陳羿錫) and Chen Tsung-ping (陳宗萍).
Chen I-tzu is a third generation puppetmaker who grew up watching his father and grandfather craft and perform with budaixi in Changhua County. Each budaixi is completely handmade in a studio the couple set up in Xiamen, China and takes up to two months to complete, including drying time for the lacquer on its face and hands. As a fiber arts buff, I especially enjoyed looking at the very intricate hand embroidery on the costumes. I highly recommend a visit. For Changyifang’s address and more information about the studio, please see my Taipei Times article.