The first time I came across Wayang Kulit, its ghostly forms left a lasting impression on me. At a time when animation is exploring unparalleled new arenas of realism, it is amazing that these comparatively simple, silhouetted puppets were able to be so memorable. As I delved into my research on this subject matter, I found that this ancient Indonesian art form has transformed and been transformed by the various cultures it touches. At the same time, however, the decline in popularity of this art form among Indonesians has traditionalists worried. In a shrinking world, the threat of uniformity and the diminishing interest in cultural forms worries everyone. People are starting to move out of rural areas into city blocks, which in some urban areas are indistinguishable from those on the other side of the world. People watch the same TV shows, and read the same information online. Diverse belief systems are being replace with science. As cultures being to learn about each other, to learn to live together and to relate to one another, they also have the potential to sacrifice what makes them unique. So, where is the place for wayang in a world that is growing increasingly small?
What is Wayang?
The word wayang itself means "shadow,"1 however it has come to represent a unique style of performance art. The most well known form, wayang kulit, uses two dimensional rod puppets made from buffalo hide. Other types of wayang performance use three dimensional wooden puppets (known as wayang golek) or dancers2.
All forms of Wayang share common characteristics that separate them from other forms of theater. One of those is the specific character types, which represent the spectrum of human emotions....
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...a. New York: Longman, 5th ed, 2006.
Paly, Nina. Sita Sing the Blues [Video]. http://www.sitasingstheblues.com/watch.html
"Shadow Puppets" PuppetIndia.com. http://puppetindia.com/shadow.htm
Garuda Airline TVC - Wayang Kulit [Video]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1HzP7YuYD8&NR=1
Javanese Shadow Puppet - Wayang Kulit [Video]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJXxWfWHvBc
Wayang Kulit: Shadow Theater in Java part 1 of 3 [Video]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dypiAo5wN6s
Wayang Kulit: Shadow Theater in Java part 2 of 3 [Video]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9oa0G6TcOc
Wayang Kulit: Shadow Theater in Java part 3 of 3 [Video]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--r0mYTjdlc
Wayang MTV Duet [Video]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJVsz1hiPpQ
WAYANG KULIT "GORO-GORO" KI. ANOM SUROTO 1 OF 11 [Video]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiXMPm__Lak
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