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Lot 157, Auction 5/30/2017: Pair of 20th C. Indonesian Leather Shadow Puppets

Southeast Asia, Indonesia, ca. mid 20th century CE. A pair of Javanese Wayang polychromed, cut leather/hide shadow puppets with fine detailing and exquisite color, one painted on both sides. Such puppets are part of the rich Indonesian Wayang tradition. Size: each puppet measures approximately 13.5" W x 24.5" H (34.3 cm x 62.2 cm)

A pair of excellent puppets, brightly colored, made of animal hide with nice openwork and painted embellishments. These puppets are used in wayang, a theatrical performance unique to Java that uses puppets and human dancers. This style of theatre has been designated by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage since 2003. This particular type of puppet - operated by rods connected to the hands - is known as a wayang golek, which today is associated with the Sundanese culture of West Java. This area and the northern part of Java are home to some of the oldest Muslim kingdoms on the island and it is believed that, from the 17th century onward, puppets of this style were used to tell stories of Muslim history; later, it became a way to tell the stories of the Ramayana and Mahabarata. Several types of these puppets i.e. the suket puppet, puppet klitik, Krucil puppets, puppet gedog, and wayang beber are no longer created or used.

Condition: Operational rod no longer attached to one puppet, but available to reattach.

Provenance: Ex-Adeon Gallery, Chicago, IL, acquired prior to 1970.

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