AGE: – 18th Century or earlier (Very Rare)
CONSTRUCTION: – Wood
DESCRIPTION: – Indonesian Wayang Kulit Wooden Puppet Show Lamp Stand – age related wear to motifs
HEIGHT: – 58cm
DEPTH: – 43cm
WEIGHT:– 2.2 kg.
Rare 18th Century Indonesian Wayang Kulit Wooden Puppet Show Lamp stand, originally used in open air puppet show performances, placed on platform behind the puppet master with an oil lamp placed on it to cast a shadow of the puppets that were being manipulated by the puppet master onto a screen of sheer cotton referred to as “kelir”, hung from the top of the stage. Before modern lighting an oil lamp placed on a stand similar to this one flickered and threw light onto the puppets being manipulated by the puppeteer with strings attached to sticks or rods made from buffalo horn tied onto each puppet.
Behind the raised platform the puppet master is often seated on the ground or platform controlling and telling the story related to each figure, whilst an orchestra with one or more gamelans accompany the performance.
In the Wayang Kulit puppet shows the shadow reflected by the light on the back of the screen displaying a larger version of the puppet to the audience on the front of the screen with body, arms and legs moving in all directions. The puppets very often play the role of the characters of those from the ancient Sanskrit stories and poems from the epic love stories the Ramayana and Mahabharata, originating in India and tales related to Islam.
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 colorful painted details depicting the clothing and headdresses. A face and hair are then painted on to the remaining leather. Wayang Golek puppet shows are those seen in the round made from wood.
Shadow puppet performances were a traditional part of Indonesian life for several centuries and thought to have been inspired and introduced by the visiting Hindu/Buddhist traders, Hindu priests and monks dating as far back as the 9th century. Puppet shows were the main form of entertainment throughout Indonesia and Bali up until the 1980’s.
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