Uncanny Artist Ephemera and Objects for Artists and Collectors
  • Javanese Wayang Kulit or Shadow Puppet

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    Traditionally, this Javanese Wayang Kulit or Shadow Puppet (kulit meaning made of skin) is used in Java and Bali in Indonesia to perform their versions of the Indian Hindu epics.  This puppet most likely belongs to a family of characters called "Punakawan" or "clown-servants" who provide humorous and philosophical interludes to the hero's story.  These characters do not belong to the Hindu epics but were added later, possibly to introduce mystical aspects of Islam.  This figure is made of painted leather with a central wood pole to hold the puppet, two smaller wood poles to move his jointed arms, and a cord to move his jaw.  He measures 11" high (17" including the pole). He is characterized by a fat belly, one upper tooth and a black topknot. His skin is painted a deep grayed pink. He is wearing a black and white checked loincloth and a colorful hat and belt. Some of the lines of his body have been perforated with holes. Age and maker are unknown.  This Javanese Wayang Kulit or Shadow Puppet is in good condition.  Some of the paint has flaked off revealing a painted undercoat.