Item Records

This page shows all the information we have about this item. Both the institution that physically holds this item, and RRN members have contributed the knowledge on this page. You’re looking at the item record provided by the holding institution. If you scroll further down the page, you’ll see the information from RRN members, and can share your own knowledge too.

The RRN processes the information it receives from each institution to make it more readable and easier to search. If you’re doing in-depth research on this item, be sure to take a look at the Data Source tab to see the information exactly as it was provided by the institution.

These records are easy to share because each has a unique web address. You can copy and paste the location from your browser’s address bar into an email, word document, or chat message to share this item with others.

  • Data
  • Data Source

This information was automatically generated from data provided by MOA: University of British Columbia. It has been standardized to aid in finding and grouping information within the RRN. Accuracy and meaning should be verified from the Data Source tab.


Three-dimensional male humanoid puppet: large head (part b) fits into body with skirt (part a), and a control rod (part c) with a long shaft that 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. White face positioned downwards: delicate eyes, other facial features outlined in black. Red lips and white teeth. Large curl (gelung supit urang) headdress with diadem and long sumping in black, gold, green, and red. Gold neck and torso; arms have gold and red ornaments at wrist and bicep. Red chest covering and apron, with red trim and green and blue sequins. Apron with yellow frills at bottom, red waistband. Long batik skirt (blue and red on beige). Two pieces of lined paper with handwritten (in pen) inscription 'Abimanyu' glued to headdress and 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. Abimanyu is a prince (raden) from the Mahabharata cycle. He is the son of Arjuna, one of the principle Pandawa brothers. Puppet may not be correctly identified.

Cultural Context

Theatrical performance.

Iconographic Meaning

Each puppet is characterized by its wanda, a Javanese word which describes the specific mixture of elements of size, form, colour, ornamentation and carving. Colour and position of face suggest high virtue. Small facial features are very refined; position of hands, batik skirt, headdress, and skin colour indicate high rank. Inscription suggests Abimanyu, but puppet seems a great variation (much less hair, simpler headdress; moustache; larger eyes). Not otherwise identified.

Item History

With an account, you can ask other users a question about this item. Request an Account

With an account, you can submit information about this item and have it visible to all users and institutions on the RRN. Request an Account

Similar Items