Wayang Wong : Human Version of Wayang

The evolving tradition of Indonesian puppetry

By Unit Pengelola Museum Seni

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

Wayang wong (wayang: shadow or puppet; wong: man)

is a kind of wayang kulit performance where the puppets were replaced by human dancers. It adapts the aesthetics and narratives from leather puppets into full theatrical-dance performance. 

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

Wayang wong has similar features of a Wayang performance

These features includes visual aesthetic, such as its make up...

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

Headdress...

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

Weaponry

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

And its entire costume attire..

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

Puppet movements adaptation

The Wayang wong performance adapts leather puppet-like movements to a very detailed body movements. The movements of the wayang wong performer are generally fluid and solemn, and recitation is extremely stylized.

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

In the way the performer stood ..

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

The way a performer would walk ..

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

The way a performer would express something ..

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

The performance is closely tied with royal court of Java

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

Wayang wong performance would begin in the morning

and could last up to days. 

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

The main language of the performances is Old Javanese Kawi, and the performer would recite the lines themselves, while singers sitting among the gamelan perform the more demanding vocal parts.

Dan Nati Asia East Indies Java (Wayang Wong/Wayang Orang)LIFE Photo Collection

In its grandeur and style the Javanese wayang wong is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest theatrical traditions.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Wayang Shadow Puppets
Style, epic stories, and surprises in the world of Indonesian wayang
View theme
Google apps