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Wayang Kulit

The Wayang Kulit is a form of shadow puppet theatre. It traditionally conveys a moral or political message. The puppets are made from stretched leather and elaborately decorated.

Wayang Kulit performance in Java, c. 1890

Wayang Kulit performance in Java, c. 1890

A dalang, master puppeteer, controls the puppets, moving the arms and legs by thin rods and maneuvering the puppets across a screen that is back lit, casting a shadow on the screen. The dalang narrates the story and directs an accompanying orchestra that sings and plays complex melodies on bronze instruments and gamelan drums. The dalang are often considered literary masters.

In November 2003, UNESCO proclaimed the Wayang Puppet Theatre a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.