In the days before TV and radio, puppet shows ruled (BuDaiXi - pronounced Boo-Die-Shee). Traditionally, these were shown outside of temples - in part to entertain the gods! The puppets were handcrafted and reflected traditional society and religion.
These shows outside of temples can still sometimes be seen, though often they have been replaced with projections of movies.
To find one of these traditional shows requires a little inqenuity, and most likely the assistance of a local friend.
So, is puppet theatre dying in Taiwan? Not at all! The traditional puppet theatre has been reinvented for the modern world. On local TV is an entire channel devoted to puppet shows and rental videos of puppet theatre are big business.
The modern, televised version features the traditional hand-crafted puppets - but with special effects. The stories are mostly adult fare, like historical soap operas.
Originally from China, they died out there - especially after the communist take-over in 1949. Now, however, Taiwanese televised puppet theatre has returned to China enchanting huge audiences.
Whether you catch a tradition show outside of a temple or the modern televised version, this is a true Taiwan experience!