Ki Enthus Susmono and Rasimin at the Museum of International Folk Art

Ki Enthus Susmono and Rasimin, Kayan Gapuran puppet (back view, 1992), water buffalo hide and horn, anchor, paint, gold leaf, and cotton

Museum of International Folk Art, 706 Camino Lejo, 505-476-1200, internationalfolkart.org

The Indonesian shadow puppet performance known as wayang kulit is among the world’s great storytelling traditions. Considered a high art form in Indonesia, the performances are steeped in the tradition of classical literature, such as the Sanskrit epics the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The performances, which begin in the evening and end at dawn, are enlivened by the presence of a gamelan orchestra. The stories are meant to entertain with action, humor, and drama, while also inviting moral and philosophical contemplation. The exhibition Dancing Shadows, Epic Tales: Wayang Kulit of Indonesia was on display at the museum from 2009 to 2010. An online version is available on the museum’s website and features text that explains aspects of the performances, performers, characters, gamelan instruments, and the role of the orchestra. Explore a gallery of puppets and installation shots and watch videos of wayang kulit being performed. The virtual exhibition is ongoing.

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