Javanese Shadow Puppets

   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



   
 

These shadow puppets are produced in central Java from leather and horn or wood. They are hand carved and painted in a centuries old classical motif. The puppets mainly depict characters from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics. Carving is done with a mallet and variously shaped chisels, and the painting with acrylics. The arms are actuated with horn or wood rods that are hinged in two or three places. The "overall" height includes the length of handle below the puppet body to the top of its crown. These puppets are considered "good" quality, that is, average in carving and painting finishes and perhaps in materials as well. Our "best" quality puppets can be viewed on another page.