Item Name: The Boatman
Category: Chou (jester)
Previous Owner: HeXing Shadow Puppet Troupe
Relief carving methods are used in making the Boatman’s face, etching the puppet’s facial lines on one surface while leaving the rest blank so that its face is composed of lines. He has thick eyebrows and a mustache, with only a pair of shorts on; his bent legs suggest the force he exerts while rowing the boat. He plays the role of boatman in the small play named “Peach Blossom Takes the Ferry.” Small plays are musical comedies with simple plots, enacted through song and dance. Traditionally, the small play “Peach Blossom Takes the Ferry” features a Dan (lead female), a Chou (jester), and one or two musical characters. It tells a story of an old widower teasing Ms. Taohua (peach blossom) on a boat; the characters exchange witty conversation in song, and whomever fails to respond loses the match.