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Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

Shadow Puppets of Malaysia, Indonesia & South India



Wayang Kulit is the name given to folk ‘shadow’ puppet shows performed in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. The puppe tperformances are usually story telling mediums and most stories narrate excerpts from the Ramayana.

A sample of antique shadow puppets that are echibited at the Asian Civilisations Musuem, Singapore:

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A few facts :

  • Puppets are made using buffalo hide and are manipulated using attached sticks. Islam forbids the depiction of human forms of god, and therefore ‘shadows’ replaced real puppets as mediums of story telling.
  • Jakarta boasts of a museum dedicated to the various forms of Wayang.
  • This perfromance art is thought to have evolved in the 9th century
  • In India this began as a travelling tribe that performed story-telling sessions ‘killye katha’ in villages in soutehrn India spreading the tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
  • Puppets were colored according to the role they played of good or evil, and their spirits come ‘alive’ once eyes have been painted.
  • Dialogue, minimalistic sets and music accompany the performances.

A documentary on Wayang : here

For a larger set of pro images, please visit http://www.jainamishra.com

jm

Jly 2011

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