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The wooden doll puppets of Java (called "wayang golek": wayang, for shadow or ghost; and golek, meaning three-dimensional) are recognized by their distinctive profiles and the long rods attached to their hands by which the puppeteer (called a dalang) manipulates the figures. These puppets evolved from Java’s traditional "wayang kulit", or shadow theater. The stories of Javanese shadow theater reflect the influences of Indian and Islamic cultures on the island and relate the Hindu epic tales of "The Ramayana" and "The Mahabharata" and Muslim stories of Amir Hazama, the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle. Puppeteers began using wayang golek , according to some puppet historians, in the 1600s; Its influence continues to this day, not just in Asia but on New York City’s Broadway too. "The Lion King", a popular musical Julie Taymoor directed in 1997, used the techniques of Javanese puppetry she studied in Indonesia many years ago.

  • Material: wood | paint | fabric | bead
  • Origin: Indonesia
  • Style: International
  • Object ID: 113.3503
  • Credit Line: Gift of Bernard and Norine Selby
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