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Thai Puppetry has been apart of Thai culture and tradition for hundreds of years. The first puppet performance was called "Hun Luang" otherwise known as Royal Puppet. It first started during the Ayutthaya period, but only during royal functions or within the royal palace were these puppets performed. Later, during the reign of King Rama 4, "Hun Lek", or Small Puppets performed Niew Jeen (Chinese Opera) and the Ramayana along with "Hun Kabok" or Stick Puppet and Hun Lakorn Lek otherwise known as Traditional Thai Small Puppets became open to the public and performed widely all around the country. The puppets are unique because of its special lifelike characteristics combining many different kinds of traditional art forms.
Thai puppetry includes both the two-dimensional puppets which are presented in shadow play both in front of and behind a brightly lit muslin screen, known by the genre name of SHADOW PUPPETS, and three-dimensional FIGURE PUPPETS in stage settings. The shadow play figures are collectively known as NANG (projected image), while the figure puppets are known as HUN (modeling).