Dr. Paul Lin, founder of the Taiyuan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum in Dadaocheng, an old neighborhood in Taipei City, donated his puppet collection, over 10,000 puppets and puppet theater items to the National Taiwan Museum in a ceremony witnessed by Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te at the Nadou Theatre in Taipei on Sept. 1. Considering the National Taiwan Museum can better preserve and manage the valuable collection from all over Asia, Lin signed a memorandum with the national museum to give his collection for exhibition and research.
At the donation ceremony, Minister Lee remarked that Dr. Lin's puppetry collection, spanning from Taiwanese, Minnan (Hokkien), and Hakka puppetry to those from Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Japan, could be one of the most comprehensive puppetry collections in Asia. Puppet theater played important recreational role in earlier agricultural society, and by reflecting the ways of living and culture as the time, puppet theater is also a symbol of cultural heritage, he added.
Dr. Lin said that his years-long collection efforts can be seen in the number and variety of Asian puppets collected from around the world. With the assistance of puppet theatre expert Dr. Robin Ruizendaal, the Taiyuan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum has facilitated the systematic collection of puppets, categorized by diversified cultures through an ethnological lens. The collection, including puppets, puppetry booths, and costumes for Taiwanese glove puppet theater (po-te-hi) as well as puppets and puppet show scripts collected from other Asian countries, is considered a "treasure chest of puppetry." At the ceremony, Dr. Lin also thanked his family for supporting his wish of "decluttering," and entrusting the National Taiwan Museum to preserve these important pieces of cultural heritage.
Dr. Lin has been a dedicated part of the movement to promote local culture. In addition to founding the Taiyuan Arts and Culture Foundation and Taiyuan Publishing, he has participated in fieldworks, community activities as well as indigenous culture events. The foundation has been actively promoting puppet theatre in Dadaocheng since 1999, developing close ties with the community and becoming a vital hub for the study of puppetry. The site of the ceremony and press conference, the neighboring Nadou Theatre, was formerly the home of the Chou Chin Chun Tea Factory and has been a true force for innovation in the area through its ties to community culture.