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Puppets and Shadows Combine for a Lively Day Experience with Indonesia’s Ancient Performing Art

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This is your chance to not only be a puppet master, but to actually create your own puppet. Not a bad souvenir to take home, isn’t it? In our one day Jogja Shadow Puppet Course, you’ll learn and embrace the art of Indonesia’s shadow puppetry. An integral part of Javanese and Balinese culture, you’ll also learn the history behind this ancient art. After all is said and done, sit back and enjoy a fine authentic performance.

Shadow puppetry, otherwise known as wayang kulit, have been around for centuries and usually tell the Indian epic stories of The Mahabarata and the Ramayana. In Java and Bali, these epics, mainly Hindu in nature also incorporates Islam and Buddhist ideals, respectively.

The Dalang (puppet master) is a truly skilled individual. Not only does he/she bring the puppets to life, the dalang must also remember and recite hundreds of stories, be in charge of the music and of course create the puppets. Gamelan music usually accompanies a show.

The puppet master plays behind a cotton screen, which is illuminated by an oil lamp or contemporary lamp. The puppets are made of leather and carefully chiseled to resemble their final form. They are then supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods to mimic human movement.

We’ll take you to the old city of Kotagede just outside of Jogjakarta. Most of the houses here are built between 1700 and 1930, so you’ll get a sense of traditionalism once you step foot here.

With the guidance of a skilled Wayang Kulit maker, you will create your own leather puppet. They will also show you how to use the puppets and put on a short performance. The course takes around 3 hours and gives great insight into the history, cultural significance and crafting of this Javanese tradition.

Compliment your Indonesian experience with one of our day trips. They are perfect remedies for those who would like to get a deeper insight into Indonesia’s culture, history and landscapes. Contact us if you have any questions.

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