Indonesian Antique Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppet with Snake and Pitchfork

Sale price $120.00 Regular price $140.00

The snake! That pitchfork! And then those teeth, and phallus peeking out below that terrifically patterned green cloth. There are lots of wonderful old Javanese Wayang Kulit shadow puppets out there, but this is quite an unusual one and one of my very favorites. 

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. At one time there would have been carved horn handles attached, and evidence remains of where those attached--the hole at his belly, smaller holes and marks on the arms, and a remnant of thread at his waist. 

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--and, missing its handles, even easier to hang!

18" tall X 9 1/2'" across at widest.