Dancing Shadows | Epic Tales: Wayang Kulit of Indonesia
Dancing Shadows | Epic Tales: Wayang Kulit of Indonesia

Dancing Shadows

Wayang kulit performance of Indonesia is among the greatest story-telling traditions in the world and lies close to the heart of Javanese culture.

Wayang kulit are shadow puppets. Yet, more than mere puppetry, this is one of the highest forms of art in Indonesia. Traditional performances are based on classical literature. Each show teaches important morals and involves serious philosophical contemplation, while entertaining the audience at times with roaring humor and special action-packed scenes. Traditionally, performances last all night, beginning in the evening and ending at dawn and are always accompanied by a gamelan orchestra, creating a dynamic, multi-sensory experience.

The tradition of wayang kulit has been performed in villages, cities, and royal courts for hundreds of years and is very much alive today. This exhibit focuses on the style of wayang kulit from Surakarta, a Central Javanese city commonly referred to as Solo.

This website is based on the award-winning exhibition, Dancing Shadows, Epic Tales: Wayang Kulit of Indonesia, which was developed by the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was on display from March 8, 2009 through March 14, 2010.