Shadow puppet, prince

This is a leather puppet of a prince. Such puppets are used for shadow plays, which are staged on festive occasions. While most of the themes are religious, drawn from epic myths, historical tales and sometimes fables, satire on contemporary matters is the underlying theme of many performances. Clowns are introduced to provide humour and diversion from the main theme. Many of these generic puppets are used to substitute various characters such as princes and princesses in Ramayana and Mahabharata. There are very few individual characters like Ravana and Hanuman. This form of shadow puppetry is known as Tholubomalatta in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The puppets of Andhra Pradesh are unique in that they are created in a combination of profile and frontal views, as seen in this prince, where the legs and head point to the side in a profile view while the rest of the body is presented in a frontal view.In the early days of these shadow puppets, they were strongly influenced by contemporary westernisation. Today, western cinema and popular culture have an effect on them, as shown in this puppet wearing riding boots. These puppets record the changing times of history.