[Tokimatsu’s Delight] Studying Indonesia 4

A study session in preparation for our trip to Indonesia. Through a mini wayang kulit performance, we got ourselves familiarized with the main focus of our research.

About Javanese Wayang Kulit
The instructor was Mr. Endo
Recreating wayang using actual puppets and a screen

Performers(dalang)’s side
Shadow side
Audience can watch from either side
I thought the point was to watch the shadows, but I was surprised to learn that most people watch the puppets and dalang from behind!

All the puppets are his own! (he has countless.)
Mr. Endo keeps busy showing us the shadow puppets and explaining.
Audiences are invited to lie down, move around, eat and drink during the performance and it’s all OK!

Peanuts and coffee

Even though they’re made for casting shadows, the puppets are vividly colored!! (Front and back)
Extremely beautiful!
The angle of the face, along with its color, clothing and accessories indicate the character’s status and personality.
The puppet is controlled by rods made out of the horns of water buffalo.

When I thought of shadow puppetry… this is what I imagined.
I assumed that as long as the shadow was complete, nothing else mattered, so I was surprised by the puppets themselves.

Very intricate designs are carved into thinly tanned cowhide. The resulting shadow is like elaborate lace… The details in coloring cannot be imitated. Only the skills of an artisan!!

Wayang was originally performed for rituals.
The puppet represents god. That is why not only the shadow, but the puppet itself is crafted to completion. The level of workmanship is akin to that of a Buddha statue or other religious architecture.

Wayang is performed overnight, for an entire 8-hour stretch!

What? Don’t they go to the bathroom?

What about meals?
They have only sweet tea and tobacco.
Wow, they must be pretty extraordinary…


[Footprints] Studying Indonesia 4