Coppelia Theatre
Art and Technology
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theatrical engineering

Wrist Puppets

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Technical curiosities

The body of the puppet is fixed directly on the hand and on the forearm of the animator by means of iron framework. The most interesting part is the head control mechanism: the movement of the wrist is directly transferred to the head of the puppet through a cardan joint, allowing it to do an extremely naturalistic movement.

Secret Commands

The hands are the most complex part of the puppet, they have articulated fingers and are, therefore, prehensile. The control levers of the eyes and of the mouth are hidden under the palm of the head. The index finger and the middle one act like puppet legs. The construction materials are wood and iron.

Construction Times

All mechanisms are handmade, including the realization of springs and screws. Because of this complexity, the construction times are very long: it takes about three months for the building of a single puppet and even more time is necessary to learn the manipulation.


demonstration video

Vladimir Zakharov

The inventor of the wrist puppet, the Siberian engineer Vladimir Zakharov Yakovlevich, gets to design and realize the first prototype around the end of the 1990s.

Dalla Siberia all'Europa

Jlenia Biffi learned the constructive secrets of the wrist puppets in her trip in Siberia in 2010 at the  Vladimir’s Theatre 2KU. In Europe, she contributes to the growth and dissemination of the knowledge of these sophisticated scenic machines, that represent the link between robotics and theatre.