Puppet show is traditional performing arts. There was evidence that puppet existed before Hinduism came to Southeast Asia, brought by Indian traders. However, there might be good thing indigenous storytelling traditions with huge impact of puppet development. The first record of puppet show was from an inscription dated 930 AD, says Galigi as player puppets. From that time until now seem certain features of traditional leather puppet theater remains. Galigi was an itinerant performer who was asked to perform for a special royal occasion. On the show featured a story about Bima from Mahabharata story.
Javanese shadow puppet show in 1890
Master mind or Dalang behind the shadow puppet players overall performance. Player sits behind the scenes and tells stories. With traditional orchestra in the background to provide a resonant melody and rhythm of conventional, Dalang modulates his voice to create suspense thus heightening the drama. The story is always climax in playing with victory of good over evil.
Hindu culture arrived from India and slowly the land is adopted as the local belief system. The Sanskrit became literary and court language of Java. Hindus changed the puppet to spread their religion, mostly by stories from the Sanskrit literature. Then, a mixture of Islam puppet play was praised as harmony between Hinduism and traditional Javanese culture. On Java, western part of Sumatra and some areas continue to play the old stories for decades, but the influence of Hinduism apply and traditional stories either fell into oblivion or be integrated in the drama of Hindu religion. The numbers of puppet are also present in paintings of that time, such as the roof of courtroom in Klungkung, Bali.
As Islam began to spread in Java Island, look God in human form whatsoever is prohibited. So, the style of painting and shadow play was apparently applied form. Raden Patah wanted to see puppets in traditional form, but failed to get permission from Islam’s leader. As alternative, the religious leaders converted to Islam a puppet doll prototype made of lambskin, and displayed only the shadow, not the numbers themselves. Figures illicit images only their shadow puppets on display births.
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