Shadow puppet, noble lady

This puppet represents the character of a noble lady in the Javanese 'wayang kulit' or leather shadow puppet theatre tradition. Her refined character is reflected in his small eyes, a sharply pointed nose and narrow stance. Her forward-looking gaze suggests that she is also assertive. The vast majority of the ‘wayang’ plays performed are drawn from the two great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata with as well as stories of Javanese origin. 'Wayang kulit' is considered as the highest of the Javanese performing arts. Performed in the royal courts of Java as early as the ninth century, this tradition continues to be treasured as one of the ‘pusaka’ or sacred heirlooms of the court. 'Wayang kulit' is traditionally performed on ritual days and religious ceremonies. It has also been adapted more recently for television and public education campaigns.

Indigenous Name
wayang kulit
20th century
Java, Indonesia
Object size: 70.3 x 21.6 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Theatre Artefacts