Indonesian Antique Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppet with Heart and Gold Teeth

Sale price $110.00 Regular price $140.00

This is a wonderful antique Javanese Wayang Kulit shadow puppet who resembles the famous character of "Bagong, a sort of clownish servant, except for those bared fangs, which make me think, rather, that he represents some sort of ogre. He's a pretty great one, whoever he is, with exposed red heart and that gorgeous black and white patterned skirt. I'd hang him near the door to greet and/or ward off visitors!

The puppet is made of water buffalo hide, cut and punctured by hand, then colored with water-based paints made of natural pigments on both sides, with gold leaf added on the teeth and eyes.  The guiding handle which runs down the middle of his body, is made of carved water buffalo horn, while the handle attached to the arm is wood, possibly replacing a former horn handle at some point.  

An ancient Indonesian tradition centered in Java, Wayang Kulit performance is an incredibly rich story-telling tradition that celebrates Indonesian culture and artistry, with its origins traced to the spread of Hinduism in the medieval era and the arrival of leather-based puppet arts called thalubomalata from southern India.

I purchased this and one other from a dealer specializing in them, who dated it to the 18th century. I don't know enough to know for certain, but clearly it is very old, though in terrific condition, only enhanced by wear. I'd guess the thread connecting the handle to his hand and at his shoulder replaced the original thread.

23 3/4" tall  including handle X 9'" wide with arm down.