A set of authentic late 1800's "Pupi" or marionette puppets are traditional in Sicily, the advertizing sign is included. These puppet shows were family businesses, starting around 1800, telling folk and historical stories from the Renaissance and Medieval periods.
The hand carving, painting and maintenance were all done by the family who also performed the shows. "The Opera of the Puppets" was played in a folding tent-like stage which concealed the operators. The hand carved and painted sign was attached to the performance stage.
Puppets are type cast for traditional tales. Wigs are human hair and the armor is hammered tin. Puppets are about 48" tall, excluding the metal operating arms. Old costumes have wear and stains, there is some corrosion on the tin for a little antique character.
A hand wrought iron rack displays the pupi, size is 48" wide, 12" deep and 64" tall. The sign has iron bracket feet that can be cut off if desired for easier shipment or wall display. Size is 5' wide, 45" tall and 8" deep. Inside the iron frame, the sign is hand carved and pierced wood with vivid hand painting in very good condition.
The sign is in Sicilian dialect, an Italian client has helped us with translation. We believe this is an advertisement by Carmelo Campanili Delle Sponde of Via Grande for a two act "Opera of Puppets" featuring Orlando, a traditional lead character. Orlando is Italian for Roland from the French epic, "Chanson d' Roland," also glorified in Renaissance poems. He finds Angelica and fights the Saracens or Turks.
The last two lines are proverbs written in Sicilian dialect and give the themes for the shows, "Man proposes and God disposes," and "Who lives full of envy will die desperate."
See 30 photos on Harp Gallery website that enlarge to full screen size. Please call or e-mail for an independent shipping quote.