Friday, June 20, 2014

Unusual Artifacts: Schichtl Marionettes Flower Seller, c. 1900

Trick Puppet
Wizard from Kasperle
The Schichtl Marionette Company, Germany, c. 1910
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made in Germany around 1910, this marionette is part of a group from the Schichtl Marionette Company. He’s part of the “Kasperle” tradition and is, at first glance, the character of “The Wizard.” But, there’s more than meets the eye. He’s a “trick puppet.” He can transform from the wizard into a dwarfish flower seller.

The puppet features a carved and painted wooden face with glass eyes, wooden hands, leather-clad feeties, a horsehair moustache, beard and wig.

While the wizard, he carries a wand, wears a long cream silk crepe robe with a silk collar. Appliqué black felt and velvet magical symbols adorn the silk robe while skull and crossbone motifs decorate his conical silk hat.

Concealed under the silk robe, is the flower-seller. This dwarf puppet wears a white cotton shirt, green and yellow belt and braces, red cotton knee-length breeches and tan stockings. The flower seller holds a metal lamp in his right hand and a wooden bucket of silk flowers on his head—as one does. 

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