Shadow Puppet Show

Shadow Puppet Show is a traditional performing art. There was evidence that puppets existed before Hinduism came to Southeast Asia, brought by Indian traders. However, there might be a good thing indigenous storytelling impacts puppet development. The first record of a shadow puppet show was from an inscription dated 930 AD, which says Galigi was a player puppet. Right now, it seems certain features of traditional leather puppet theatre remains. Galigi was an itinerant performer who asked to perform for a special royal occasion. The show featured a story about Bima from the Mahabharata story.

The Javanese shadow puppet shown in 1890
Mastermind or Dalang behind the shadow puppet players' overall performance. The player sits behind the scenes and tells stories. With the traditional orchestra in the background to provide a resonant melody and rhythm of conventional, Dalang modulates his voice to create suspense heightening the drama. The story is a climax of playing with a victory of good over evil.

The Hindu culture arrived from India and adopted local beliefs. Sanskrit became the literary court language of Java. Hindus changed the puppet to spread their religion and the story from Sanskrit literature. Then, a mixture of Islam puppets harmonizes Hinduism and traditional Javanese culture. On Java, the western part of Sumatra and some areas continue to play the old stories for decades. The influence of Hinduism applies to the traditional accounts that either fell into oblivion or integrated into the drama of the Hindu religion. The numbers of puppets are present in paintings of that time, such as the courtroom roof in Klungkung, Bali.

As Islam began to spread on Java Island, look God in human form whatsoever was prohibited. So, the style of painting and shadow play was applied form. Raden Patah wanted to see puppets in the traditional form but failed to get permission from Islam’s leader. As an alternative, the religious leaders converted to an Islam puppet doll prototype made of lambskin and displayed only the shadow, not the numbers of themselves. The Figures illicit images only the shadow puppets on display birth.

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