Wayang 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

5.10.11 Indonesian Arts & Crafts: Part 2

Wayang, “theater” in Javanese, is the word used to refer to traditional Indonesian shadow puppets. Though beautifully rendered and colored, the puppets are held up behind a screen so only their outlines are visible. These intricate plays of shadow and light are often based on romantic tales, especially adaptations of the classic Indian epics The Mahabarata and The Ramayana. Some of them also depict local happenings, current events or other secular stories. Performances are generally accompanied by gamelan, an orchestra composed of metallophones, xylophones, drums, gongs, bamboo flutes and strings. The puppets are made in various styles, with perhaps the best known being the wayang kulit, crafted from parchment-like sheets of dried water buffalo hide (kulit). As with batik, UNESCO designated wayang kulit a “Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in 2003, making it incumbent upon the Indonesians to preserve this precious indigenous art form.
Tagged — puppets