Researchers exploring puppetry used to know only very little about Africa and therefore believed that puppetry was merely a peripheral matter. In the past fifty years, however, more and more characters and information emerged that evoked rather colorful and spectacular images. Traditional puppet theatre is usually significant at ritual celebrations within tribes. Ancestor worship, initiation and death are important occasions that call for the use of puppetry. Often, plays are performed by male or secret societies, so the public presentations that we are accustomed to are missing to a large extent.


Peter Schumann, the legendary founder and director of the Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont explains: “Puppet theater is the true extension of sculpture. And sculpture is an important subject matter of theater. Even static sculptures in museums continue to have an effect on us even after we have left the museum. Every object, every image, every picture, every sculpture can come to life.”  

Click on a photo to start the gallery:


Rod puppet of the Bambara, middle of 20 century. Such puppets, combining human and animal representations, play a big role with the cults of the Bambara. Parts of the "person" and the “animal” are moved with the help of a second stick inside of the puppet.


Rod puppetMali

Rod puppet, presumably 19th century. Puppets like that, with their long faces, typically accompany storytellers in their appearances.


Helmet maskNigeria

Helmet mask girl with plaits, beginning of 20th century. Shoulder and arms are flexible. Helmet masks are carried or worn by ritual dancers who look more imposing with them.


Rod puppetTunisia

Rod puppet, beginning of 20th century. Limbs flexible. The puppet play in Tunisia was influenced by Turkish and Sicilian puppet play. Primarily used for amusing public enlightenment.


German Tour schedule

Please, refer to the schedule on the German language site

Tours are available for groups of at least five people and last approximately 1.5 hours (adults) or 45 minutes (children)

Opening hours

The Museum of Theatre Puppets will be closed for two years while the buildings will be renovated. The buildings, some of which date to the 16th century need to be restored, and the 35 year old exhibition will be updated. The work is scheduled to begin in January 2018.

Entrance fee

7.00 EUR
Pupils, students 3.50 EUR
Children (6-12 years) 2.50 EUR

How to find us

TheaterFigurenMuseum Lübeck

Kolk 14 · 23552 Lübeck · Germany
Phone: +49 (0)451 786-26
Fax: +49 (0)451 784-36

Map directions

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