Wayang Kulit

Wayang Kulit is a popular type of shadow puppetry which is can be found in islands such as Bali and Java in Indonesia.

The origins of Wayang Kulit can be traced back to India.

Wayang, in modern Indonesian language, is loosely translated to mean "show" or "performance". Kulit means "skin" which is in reference to the buffalo leather the puppets are made from.  Some attribute the word wayang to the Indonesian word bayang which means "shadow". It is also believed that the word wayang has its roots in two earlier words: waya which means "ancestors" and ang which means "a symbol".

The puppets are manipulated behind a large white screen or sheet by a single puppeteer who uses his voice to speak the characters' words and his feet, which which he orchestrates the Gamelan accompaniment.

Most of the stories that are performed are based on two stories from India, the Mahabarata and the Ramayana. The Balinese and Javanese have combined the Hindu stories with Buddhist and Muslim ideas and mixed with their own folklore.

Some websites that discuss Wayang Kulit are:

http://www.balibeyond.com/wayang

http://www.art-pacific.com/artifacts/indonesi/puppets/kulit

http://www.tunasmekar.org/WayKul

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