Orientalism on Stage: European Puppetry and the ‘Exotic’ Other

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2024) | Viewed by 1074

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
The A. Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Interests: relationship between art and theatre in the Middle Ages; the function and reception of works of art in the Middle Ages; the history of European puppet theatre; contemporary art

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Guest Editor
Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
Interests: Chinese influences on European culture in the 17th–19th Centuries; historiography of Chinese art in Europe; collecting Chinese art in Europe; Asia in European writings (17th–19th Centuries)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

European puppet theatre constitutes a long and vibrant tradition in the field of animated arts. Puppet scenes have always quickly and lively reacted to political, economic and social change serving as a barometer of social moods and anxieties that tormented European societies. In terms of visual it both resisted and adapted mainstream tendencies in art and stage design. It also mirrored flaws in European taste answering to both lasting and fleeting fashions in material culture. Fascination with China, Japan, India, the Ottoman Empire, and, broadly speaking, Asian ‘Orient,’ constituted one of the numerous vogues in question which percolated taste across Europe. The question of how European culture reacted to the universe of unknown imagery is a recurring one in various fields of scholarly investigation.

This Special Issue is designed to explore Oriental influences on European puppetry. The very term ‘Oriental’ is understood here as a network of non-European, first and foremost Asian theatrical traditions and imagery which has served to shape and define European culture from the early modern period until today. We invite contributors to submit original articles, both theoretical and historical, interdisciplinary, or field-oriented, focused on the ‘orientalization’ of the European puppet scene. We do not limit our contributions with regard to any strict chronology. We are particularly interested in papers exploring archival and primary sources, both written and iconographic, and dealing with objects. The following topics of interest are suggested, however we cordially welcome other proposals as well:

  • Images of non-European countries created on puppet stages,
  • Stereotypes of Europeans and non-Europeans embodied by puppet characters,
  • Oriental motifs/threads in puppet plays’ plots,
  • Iconography of Oriental puppet plays: how the exotic other was created in stage design and costumes,
  • Oriental attire as an instrument to criticize the foibles of Western societies,
  • Relations between exoticism in art (i.e., chinoiserie, turquerie) and puppet stage design,
  • Asian puppet theatre traditions on European stages – (re)interpretations of karagöz, Chinese shadows, wayang, bunraku, kathputli, etc.,
  • Asian politics, histories, realities, and societies (re)created on puppet stages,
  • Political background of the presence of oriental motives in European puppetry,
  • Oriental issues in the puppetry in USSR and Eastern Bloc countries,
  • Asian puppet theatre forms performed/adapted by European troupes,
  • Asian puppet plays and theatres as depicted and described by Europeans,
  • Asian puppets in European collections.

Dr. Kamil Kopania
Dr. Izabela Kopania
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • puppetry
  • puppets
  • Asian ‘Orient’
  • orientalism
  • Japanism
  • chinoiserie
  • puppet stage design
  • iconography of puppet shows
  • images of Asia in puppet theatre

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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