Puppet Art: An Ancient ‘Traditional Animation’ Inherited Today

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Illustration of puppet art
Illustration of puppet art

WAYANG or puppet is one of the unique traditional art performances remaining to be preserved by Balinese people until these days. Aside from serving as entertainment option, this shadow puppet show is commonly taken advantage as complementary of Hindu rituals, especially those related to purificatory rite, and effective medium to disseminate information related to moral messages and entertainment.

The puppet is made of animal’s (cow or goat) leather. At first, it is drawn or designed in accordance with the figure desired on the processed leather and carved with small chisel to produce accurate carving. Ultimately, the puppets are also painted in beautiful colors.

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By all means, some modern and creative puppeteers will add some figures to support their storyline. By doing so, the presentation will become lively or vivid and make the spectators unwilling to leave their seat.

Habitually, the characters of puppet consist of kayon (representing mountain or universe), king, royal servant, deities, ogress as well as various kinds of animal supporting the storyline. Each character of the puppet figure has beautiful and typical color. To hold the wayang figure, it is equipped with a stick by sticking it right in the center of the puppet piece.

More uniquely, particular figures are specially designed so that their hands, legs and mouth can be animated. For instance, the royal servants, usually interpreting the conversation of the king and its prime minister from Old Javanese language into Balinese language, are designed in such a way that their legs, hands, mouth and eyes can be moved by pulling its string.


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