Global Art & Artifacts

Wayang Golek Rod Puppet.  Sundanese / Sunda Culture.  West Java.  Indonesia

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There is still little known about the wayang golek puppets but historians have speculated that they most likely originated in China and arrived on the north coast of Java (Pasisir region) around the 17th Century.  Through a series of cultural adaptions over a couple of hundred years, the wayang golek is now commonly associated with the Sundanese culture of West Java.


It has and has always been a three dimensional wooden rod puppet operated from below with a wooden rod (from bottom to top of head) and sticks that connect to the hands.  With these three points of contact, puppeteers can provide the versatility, expressiveness and aptitude for imitating the culture-rich human dance.


Wayang Golek is different from the flat wooden shadow puppets.  Wayang Golek have elaborate costumes and headdresses as well as providing expressive faces.


I believe this puppet is an adaption of Sultan Agung who ruled from 1613 to 1645.  He was a skilled soldier from the Mataram Kingdom who conquered and consolidated his kingdom to become the greatest territorial and military power.


I have not seen a wooden rod puppet – or for that matter – a Sultan figure in such great condition.  For the Serious Collector.




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