Shadow Puppet


From: Java

Curatorial Section: Oceanian

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Native Name Wayang Kulit
Object Number 29-91-27
Current Location Collections Storage
Culture Javanese
Provenience Java
Date Made Before 1929
Section Oceanian
Materials Hide | Bamboo | Pigment
Iconography Wrekudara | Bima

Bima (Werkudara, Yudipati, Sena), a Pandawa. Shadow puppet (wayang kulit) of painted hide, with rod for holding and sticks to control the movements of the arms. Wayang kulit are manipulated by a puppet master (dalang) in front of a source of light, casting shadows on a white screen. Many of the dramas performed are stories from the Hindu epic Mahabarata: this puppet represents Bima, one of the principal characters in the story, identifiable by his sharp curved thumbnails, potential deadly weapons. One of a set of wayang kulit acquired by the Museum in 1929 which are unusual because of their small scale. This Bima, for instance, measures 33.1 cm. (just over 12”) from top of hair to feet, in comparison to a 75 cm. (29 1/2“) Bima in the Raffles Collection at the British Museum.

Height 33.1 cm
Length 52.1 cm
Width 15.9 cm
Credit Line Purchased from M. Lemaire Devries, 1929

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