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Indonesian Wayang Kulit Puppet Show Lamp Stand

AGE: – 18th – 19th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Wood
DESCRIPTION: – Indonesian Wayang Kulit Puppet Show Lamp Stand – age related wear to motifs

HEIGHT: – 58cm
WIDTH:– 29.5cm
DEPTH: – 43cm
WEIGHT:– 2.2 kg.

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37a

Rare 18th – 19th Century Indonesian Wayang Kulit Puppet Show Lamp stand, originally used in open air puppet show performanced on a bamboo platform,  a construction which was usually found in every Indonesian village in days gone by.

Behind the raised platform the puppeteers and musicians would sit on the ground. Each puppeteer controlling and telling the story related to each figure, whilst loud music accompanied the performance.

Shadow puppet performances have been a traditional part of Indonesian life for several centuries and was the most prevalent form of entertainment up until modern times.

A screen of sheer cotton referred to as kelir was hung from the top of the stage, behind the screen the light from an oil lamp on a stand similar to this one flickered and threw light onto the puppets being manipulated by the puppeteer with strings attached to sticks tied onto each puppet.

The shadow reflected by the light on the front of the screen took the shape of the puppet with body, arms and legs moving in all directions. The puppets very often played the roles of those from the ancient Sanskrit story and poems of the epic love story of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, originating from India.

The word ‘Wayang’ means ghost or shadow, ‘Kulit’ is the leather or buffalo hide in which many puppets are made. The leather is intricately carved to form a pattern similar to fine filigree with colourful painted details depicting the clothing. A face and hair are then painted on to the remaining leather.

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