Rod "Golek" Puppets




These rod puppets are produced in central Java from wood and cloth. 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 wood rods and are hinged in three places. The head is mounted on a shaft that runs down the body and can pivot inside the batik robe. This is an art form that is rarely practiced these days, though the puppets are still in demand.