Photographer's Note

Indonesian Famous Puppets & Characters ; like the famous indonesian shadow puppets performing their epics.

Puppet shows last for 9 hours and are performed by puppet masters called dalangs - the most famous of whom are huge celebrities. The puppet master sits cross legged in front of the screen with his puppets ranged on either side of him. Behind him sit the gamelan orchestra and female singers who accompany the action throughout the night.

The audience feel free to lie down and doze, eat or wander off and come back at any time through the night. The invited guests will sit behind the screen and watch the shadows, while everyone else in the village will sit on the other side and watch the dalang and the gamelan players.

Puppet body types can be identified across a spectrum which ranges from alus (extremely refined) to kasar (extremely rough and crude). Refined, virtuous characters have small dainty bodies, slitted oval eyes with pupils shaped like rice grains, pointed noses and a modest downward gaze... Vigorous or turbulent characters have a more direct and confrontational stare.

As the personality of the puppet becomes less refined, there is an increase in size; the nose becomes heavier and blunter; eyes and pupils become larger and rounder and the gaze more aggressive; teeth and gums may be exposed in a snarl or a foolish sneer.

The more refined middle-sized puppets may represent courageous but impetuous kings and heroes; the coarser ones suggest an uncontrolled or evil nature. The largest puppets are used for those whose greatest attribute is physical strength.

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Additional Photos by Emilia Sahetapy (mili) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 17 W: 3 N: 34] (187)
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