The Origin of Puppetry

by Puppet Nerd

You’ve likely delighted in simple finger puppets or laughed at a silly sock puppet, whether on TV or in real life—but have you ever wondered where puppets came from? Puppeteering is a profession that’s been around for as long as anyone can remember, and its origin might surprise you.

When was the first puppet made?

Scholars debate where and when the first puppet came to be, but most agree that puppets existed as early as 5th century BCE when puppetry was first recorded in Ancient Greece in the writings of Herodotus. However, the first recorded puppet show doesn’t necessarily mean the first puppet.

So, where did this ancient form of theatre come from?

Where did puppets come from?

Current theories suggest that the roots of puppetry lie in ancient ritualistic dolls. These dolls were often created in the image of humans or gods, and they were manipulated like puppets—but the people at the time didn’t see puppeteering as entertainment. We’re not sure how far back these types of puppets date, but they’ve been found in Africa, Asia, India, New Zealand, North America, and Mexico.

Puppets as we know them have also been found in Egyptian tombs that date as far back as 2000 BCE—which means puppets have been around for at least 4000 years! Historians suspect that Ancient Egypt or Ancient India may be the true birthplace of the first puppet.

What are puppets like today?

Wherever puppets came from, they’ve changed a lot through the years. From your favorite Muppet to the complex strings of a marionette, puppets are now used to entertain, educate, and inspire people.

Consider checking out a unique puppet show you’ve never seen before, like:

Puppeteers can put on a theatrical performance for you, but kids and adults can also become puppeteers themselves at home with these puppets!

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1 comment

Educator and Advocate - Puppet Nerd December 21, 2021 - 3:33 pm

[…] arts and church were important to Edna Bland growing up on Long Island. The puppetry part would come later. She first majored in music education but had a talent for organization and […]


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