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A three-dimensional male humanoid figure puppet. Has a large head and jointed arms attached to controlling rods. The pink face is positioned forward with small eyes, a large wedge-shaped nose, red lips with prominent white upper teeth, and facial details in black. The hair is attached to the chin to form a goatee-like beard. Has a large hairnet with jamang and diadem in black, gold, with red, blue, and white detail. The hands are pink. The hand to the right is held flat and bending back at the wrist while the hand to the left is with the fingers touching the thumb. Wearing a blue robe-like upper garment with white trim, and a green, orange, and brown rough (batik ?) skirt.

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. Durna is a resi (holy man or seer) from the Mahabharata cycle of legends, usually dramatizing the conflicts between the Kurawa and Pandawa brothers. He is intelligent and articulate; he advises the major characters in their actions.

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, position of head indicates aggressiveness or assertiveness. Large facial features are not distinguished. Significance of use of (human?) hair for beard not known. Headdress suggests a prince (raden) or holy man (resi). Position of hand to left considered holy. Headdress, facial shape, other features closely identify this puppet with Durna, a resi, although the presence of facial hair, and lack of top cap and dawala on headdress are incongruous.

Item History

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