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Wayang: Traditional Indonesian Puppet Theater

Wayang: Traditional Indonesian Puppet Theater / Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T2   September 14, 2010 (Tue) - December 5, 2010 (Sun)

  
Wayang Kulit: Adipati Karna, Central Java, Indonesia, 21st century (Gift of Mr. Matsumoto Ryo)

Wayang, the traditional puppet theater of Indonesia, is included in UNESCO's Intangible Heritage List. The Wayang Kulit style of the art, which uses shadow puppets made from the hide, horns and bones of water buffalo, is practiced in Central and East Java and Bali, whilst Wayang Golek, which uses puppets carved from wood, is performed in Western Java.

Wayang repertoires include the classical Indian epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Together with Hinduism, these tales entered Indonesia circa the 10th century and became widespread among the people. In time, a style of storytelling known as Wayang Beber emerged, where tales were narrated with the use of illustrated scrolls. From this style developed Wayang Kulit, which uses puppets independently, and Wayang Golek, which uses puppets crafted from wood. The tales were adapted to Indonesia's history and its natural environment, and the characters were given Javanese names.

Wayang performances last throughout the night, and the dalang, or puppeteer, operates all puppets and narrates the stories himself from beginning to end. He also directs the gamelan music which accompanies the performance.

Over the past century, four generous individuals have kindly donated Wayang Kulit and Wayang Golek puppets to the Tokyo National Museum. This exhibition showcases the full range of these works in honor of the donors, who have each contributed greatly to promoting relations between Indonesia and Japan.

 Major works in this exhibition

* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Wayang Kulit: Prabu Kresna, Central Java, Indonesia, 20th century (Gift of Mr. Danarto)
Wayang Kulit: Dewi Wara Srikandi, Central Java, Indonesia, 20th century (Gift of Mr. Danarto)
Wayang Kulit: Prabu Duryudana, Central Java, Indonesia, 21st century (Gift of Mr. Matsumoto Ryo)
Wayang Kulit: Adipati Karna, Central Java, Indonesia, 21st century (Gift of Mr. Matsumoto Ryo)
Wayang Kulit: Raden Arjuna, Central Java, Indonesia, 20th century (Gift of Mr. Yokoyama Heishiro)
Wayang Kulit: Adipati Karna, Central Java, Indonesia, 20th century (Gift of Mr. Yokoyama Heishiro)
Wayang Golek: Raden Gatutkaca, Western Java, Indonesia, 20th century (Gift of Mr. Sawayama Yaroku)