8 Things You Need To Know About Indonesian Leather Puppet

Discover more about Indonesian leather puppet

By Unit Pengelola Museum Seni

Dewi Sinta (1986/1990) by SukarmanUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

1. Wayang performance usually conducted at night

The rhythmic gamelan combined with melodious sinden (singer) and the dalang delivering a lively story through the characters usually starts in the evening and end at dawn. The entire performance will take up to 8 hours.

Raden Sari Wahono (1992) by Pringgo, Mardi, JarotUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

2. Some wayang would carry enchanted weapons such as Kris

The Kris or Keris would be slipped on the waist as a preparation for a fight but also for mystical protection.

Dursosono by UnknownUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

3. There are vocational school to be a Dalang

To become a wayang puppeteer called a Dalang to years to master. The basic learning of understanding the characters and how to hold the puppet correctly took minimum 6 months up to one year of learning. And it will take more years to learn storytelling and music conducting.

Batara Narada (1946) by UnknownUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

4. Up to 500 wayang puppets used in a single performance

A wayang performance is a big production. A single performance would require up to 500 wayang puppets. Each wayang character would have up 8-10 puppets to be used on specific scene or show a certain age and mood. 

Een gamelan orkest bij een poppenspel (1890 - 1900) by Céphas, KassianRijksmuseum

5. Wayang performance isn't complete without Gamelan

A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Java or Bali, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists called a sinden may also be included.

Hanuman (1985/1989) by SukarmanUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

6. Audiences sits in front and at behind the stage

Traditionally Wayang Kulit audience may sit both at the front and the back of the stage.

The front of the stage has the shadows of the puppets and at the back of the stage, thus being able to see the orchestra, the dalang and the brightly colored puppets.

Semar Lurah (2010) by SaderiUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

7. Element of laughter is essential to the performance

This wayang here, Semar, is one of the well known jester in a wayang performance. He along with Gareng, Petruk and Bagong would bring in wisdom through jokes and laughter. These characters are the most favorites in Indonesia.

Raden Lesmono Widagdo (Surakarta) by UnknownUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

8. A single wayang kulit is made by multiple artisan

Each wayang kulit is made with an incredible detail and it takes a team of artisan to build. It takes minimum one month to build each wayang.

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