Wayang - Indonesian word for theatre

Wayang is an Indonesian word for theatre ( literally "shadow" ) When the term is used to refer to kinds of puppet theater, sometimes the puppet itself is referred to as wayang. ", the Javanese word for shadow or imagination, also connotes "spirit." Performances of shadow puppet theater are accompanied by gamelan in Java, and by "gender wayang" in Bali.

UNESCO designated Wayang Kulit, a shadow puppet theater and the best known of the Indonesian wayang, as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003. In return of the acknowledgment, UNESCO demanded Indonesia to preserve their heritage.

Renowned for its elaborate puppets and complex musical styles, this ancient form of storytelling originated on the Indonesian island of Java. For ten centuries wayang flourished at the royal courts of Java and Bali as well as in rural areas. Wayang has spread to other islands (Lombok, Madura, Sumatra and Borneo) where various local performance styles and musical accompaniments have developed.

While these carefully handcrafted puppets vary in size, shape and style, two principal types prevail :
  1. the three-dimensional wooden puppet (wayang klitik or golèk) and 
  2. the flat leather shadow puppet (wayang kulit) projected in front of a screen lit from behind.

Both types are characterized by costumes, facial features and articulated body parts. The master puppeteer (dalang) manipulates the swivelling arms by means of slender sticks attached to the puppets. Singers and musicians play complex melodies on bronze instruments and gamelan drums. In the past, puppeteers were regarded as cultivated literary experts who transmitted moral and aesthetic values through their art. The words and actions of comic characters representing the “ordinary person” have provided a vehicle for criticizing sensitive social and political issues, and it is believed that this special role may have contributed to wayang’s survival over the centuries.

Wayang stories borrow characters from indigenous myths, Indian epics and heroes from Persian tales. The repertory and performance techniques were transmitted orally within the families of puppeteers, musicians and puppet-makers. Master puppeteers are expected to memorize a vast repertory of stories and to recite ancient narrative passages and poetic songs in a witty and creative manner.

The Wayang Puppet Theatre still enjoys great popularity.
However, to compete successfully with modern forms of pastimes such as video, television or karaoke, performers tend to accentuate comic scenes at the expense of the story line and to replace musical accompaniment with pop tunes, leading to the loss of some characteristic features.


  1. I Love Wayang, this is traditional special from my country.
    but aku sedih karena wayang rata-rata mainnya tengah malam terus? mungkinkah wayang di tayangkan atau di mainkan pagi hari?

  2. seandainya semua generasi muda lebih menyintai budayanya sendiri tidak akan ada yang namanya pembajakan budaya oleh tetangga sebelah....

  3. Buka http://www.indogoo.com/ dan singup ke social network asli buatan anak bangsa Indonesia.
    Cintai produk dalam negeri ya! biar cepat maju

  4. Ini contoh budaya tradisional yang masih kokoh dipertahankan dan masih banyak digemari.

  5. budaya Indonesia memang sangat mempesona, salah satunya wayang ....

    good job!!!!

  6. d jgja banyak tuh kyak gituan,, hehehe,,,

    comment & baca juga >> fadiL bLog : Blog Iseng Menghasilkan Uang

  7. Kapan yach.. bisa dijadikan animasi.. dan biar dikenal anak bangsa sendiri dan luar..


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