On the Road Again

t is difficult for Westerners to fully understand the Burmese fascination for the Yokthe pwe, or marionette show. In fact, puppeteers have higher status than actors and have traditionally received royal patronage to hone the skills of crafting and bringing the hand-made wooden creatures to life. Characters and the stories they portray are easily recognizable to the audience, and they react visibly to the performance. I shot this wall of marionettes for sale with a Nikon 105 macro for maximum sharpness and reproduction of fine detail.


always get chills when an Apsaras dancer brings to life the stone carvings so abundant on the walls of Angkor. There were thousands of these "divine nymphs" at the peak of Khmer civilization. The soul of the Khmer people remains in these temples and is mirrored in the faces of today's Cambodians, recipients of a rich artistic and spiritual heritage that is finally reawakening.


Marionettes, Myanmar Dancer, Cambodia

Images ©2001 Jon Ortner