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Forgotten Heritage: Uncovering Singapore’s traditional Chinese puppets

— a special edition publication


part of singapore culture & design research project


The theme “Forgotten Heritage” presents a strong statement of an otherwise significant heritage that was once a part of the everyday lives of Chinese migrants and their descendants. This book provides a snapshot of artefacts from various forms of Chinese puppet theatre, namely the ones in existence: Hainanese rod puppetry, Henghua string puppetry, Hokkien glove puppetry, Hokkien string puppetry, Teochew iron-stick puppetry, and the now-defunct Hakka (Waijiang) string puppetry.
This book design aims to capture our original fondness for traditional Chinese puppets – the puppets, the fabrics, the embroidery, the song scripts, the props and the backstage. Layers of old-looking fabric with embroidery and decades-old song script are designed as cover to present a tradition that has been here for a century. Through the use of intricate illustrations and vivid photographs, this book takes readers through a century-long history and the gathering of various puppet forms on our small island-state.


Forgotten Heritage: Uncovering Singapore’s traditional Chinese puppets is supported by the National Heritage Board Singapore and Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.

Research period: 2019–2020

Production period: 2021-2022


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