Wayang Golek: Javanese Puppets
Wayang refers to a variety of Indonesian theatrical forms. Wayang Golek is a rod puppet: under the costume, there is a wooden rod used to hold the puppet and then each hand is attached to wooden sticks allowing the puppet master, the Dalang, to create the performance. This is a popular tradition on the North coast of Java & in Sundra, the highlands of West Java. The Dalang tells tales from the Javanese traditions such as stories of Prince Panji's endless search for his beloved princess, or of grasscutter Damar Wulan's rise from doing menial work to marrying a queen, defeating her bitter foe.
For over 1000 years these performances have been a way to address the conundrums of life. Lively puppet traditions have portrayed epic stories that shrank the cosmos down into a miniature world.
The Dalang chants: The Dalang dances the puppets, The Puppets are danced not knowing in whose hand. The screen hides the Lord, the power unseen. The chant expresses the parallel between the Dalang & the mysterious divine force. Wayang is a key to
Indonesian thinking: reflecting the lives & world view of the people.
The Dalang sits on a raised platform & can operate several puppets at the same time with an ingenious device: The Banana Log
He starts as an apprentice, Catrik, at the age of 10 to 12
There are many types of puppet characters. The ones in my collection are:
Refined Characters: White faces, bowed heads with small downcast eyes...The Heroines / Heroes
Semi Refined Characters: White or pink faces, slightly upright heads with eyes gazing straight forward
These antique puppets have been well used in productions for many years. They were not made for the tourist trade.
With Willingness, there is a possibility... An Indonesian Proverb