This is a handmade puppet of Guan Yu, who was a famous warrior in ancient China. With the long beard and red face, Guan's signature look, he also carries his usual weapon, the Blue Dragon Crescent Blade. The hand-sewed clothes Guan wears resembling the gown used in Beijing opera.
Guan Yu (162~219) was a military general under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period in ancient China. One of the best known Chinese historical figures throughout East Asia, Guan Yu's true life stories have largely given way to semi-fictional ones, mostly found in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms or passed down the generations as folklore, in which his deeds and moral qualities have been much exaggerated.
Guan Yu had been deified as early as the Sui Dynasty (581~618) and is still being worshipped by Chinese people today, especially in Hong Kong.
Zhangzhou city in Fujian province, China, is famous for its hand puppets. The traditional puppets feature hand carved head and hand sewed costumes. The plays mostly come from traditional operas and folk lores. The hand puppet show from Zhangzhou can trace back to Song Dynasty (908 ~ 1279). Zhangzhou puppet has been selected to be one of the non-material and verbal heritage folk art in China.