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Three-dimensional male puppet: large head (part b) fits into body with shirt and skirt (part a), and a control rod (part c) with a long shaft passes through the body and fits into the neck of the figure's head. The body has jointed arms, each with a long controlling rod attached. The figure's left arm is not jointed at elbow and the fingers of the hand are held flat with the hand bent back. The figure's pink face looks upwards and has white eyes with red irises, also looking up, and red lips. Hair, sideburns, beard, and facial details are painted in black. Red round cap with diadem (jamang), and long sumping, black hairnet. Blue, white, and red curved decoration at crown. Slim torso with wide shoulders. Pink arms. Arm to figure's right has a red bracelet at wrist, and the hand is clenched with an extended thumb. Beige cotton top of two different textures (arms finer than torso). Five cloth buttons on chest, three at centre (red, green, beige) and two near shoulders (green to the figure's left, and to the figure's right is an unravelled button with a semi-transparent blue fabric over a yellow, red, black and white fabric). Skirt of plaid cotton in green, red, and yellow.

History Of Use

Javanese puppetry as an art form probably developed by the 11th century. Wayang golek puppets of western Java appeared during the 16th century. Originally the plays depicted Javanese mythology, but after the Indian conquest of Java the Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, were incorporated into the cycles, which comprise about 200 plays. A dalang (puppet master) performs the plays to celebrate important occasions, usually in three acts, with vocal and instrumental accompaniment. Typically they serve a moral and religious purpose, and more recently, one of political commentary. The raden Citrayuda is found in the Mahabharata, or Pandawa cycle of plays, which depicts the legendary conflict between the Kurawa and Pandawa brothers. The conflict is simply a representation of good (Pandawas) versus evil (Kurawas) in which good triumphs. Citrayuda is known as a particularly fierce ally of the Kurawas in their attempted usurpation of the Pandawas from their rightful kingdom.

Cultural Context

Theatrical performance.

Iconographic Meaning

Each puppet is characterized by it's wanda, a Javanese word which describes the specific mixture of elements of size, form, colour, ornamentation and carving. Pink face, red irises positioned upwards denote aggressiveness or irreverence. Exaggerated facial features, amount of facial hair lack refinement. Javanese style headdress indicates some rank. Hand with extended thumb usually found on pandita (priests). Hairnet, features of face and clothing possibly identify this puppet as Citrayuda, a raden or prince. Note clenched hand anomalous.

Item History

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