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Lot of 4 Early Indonesian Wooden Figural Puppets

Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Java, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. A set of four polychrome wooden stick puppets with fine detailing and exquisite color schemes, carved and painted on both sides, two with articulated arms and attached sticks for the puppeteer. Such puppets are part of a rich Indonesian artistic tradition in which puppets were created as a playful medium to disseminate religion, whether that be Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, or Christianity. The strong aesthetic quality of these puppets is characteristic of puppets from this part of the world. Size: tallest approximately 33.5" H (85.1 cm)

Four excellent puppets, carved from wood with painted embellishments. These puppets were probably created for the 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: All show surface wear with pigment losses, three with a fissure at the low horizontal end, two with losses to noses, one with repaired nose.

Provenance: ex-Adeon Gallery, Chicago, Illinois USA acquired prior to 1970

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