Wayang in Indonesia
Daily Life :: Wayang

Wayang (pronounced wah-yahng) is the traditional puppetry and drama of Indonesia. It began in ancient times as a ceremony for calling departed spirits by hanging a coconut oil lamp and casting shadows on a wall or stretched white cloth.

These puppets are operated by a "dalang" (or puppeteer) before a screen illuminated by a lamp. Stories performed are usually based on the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and are often accompanied by gamelan music (a musical ensemble of metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs).

The varieties of wayang have developed over time and now there are more than 60 varieties of wayang, spread all over Indonesia. Some consists of ...
  • flat carved leather puppets - Wayang Kulit Purwa Goya Surakarta

  • three-dimensional carved wooden puppets - Wayang Golek Sunda

  • human actors - Wayang Orang

  • pictures painted on cloth scrolls - Wayang Beber

  • just human voices & body movements without any equipment at all - Wayang Jemblung Banyumas