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The Shadow Puppet Theatre of Malaysia: A Study of Wayang by Beth Osnes

By Beth Osnes

This complete booklet explores the Malaysian type of shadow puppet theatre, highlighting its particular nature in the context of Southeast Asian and Asian shadow puppet theatre traditions. meant for a Western viewers no longer conversant in Asian functionality and practices, the textual content serves as a bridge to this hugely inventive shape. An in-depth exam of the Malaysian puppet culture is equipped, in addition to functionality scripts, designs for puppet characters, directions for making a shadow reveal, and simple instructions for functionality. one other part then considers the sensible, pedagogical, and moral matters that come up within the instructing of this artwork.

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Extra resources for The Shadow Puppet Theatre of Malaysia: A Study of Wayang Kulit with Performance Scripts and Puppet Designs

Sample text

The bodies are cut into ten to twelve pieces (less for animals) and jointed at the shoulders, elbows, knees, waist, and wrists. Figures are manipulated with wire rods attached to loops at the neck and hands. There are usually three rods to be manipulated by a master. Traditionally, one master assisted by one apprentice performed the Pi-ying Xi at one time. Presently, many performers work the figures behind the screen at once. A great master can move up to four figures in each hand. The performer must evoke a character through the style of movement for the figure.

This tension lies at the heart of every wrenching decision the Ramayana presents. The tale begins and ends in the illustrious and bountiful city of Ayodhya, ruled by King Dasharatha. The men of Ayodhya were heroic and the women virtuous, and, along with the king, all were strict followers of dharma. Yet, however devoted and powerful the city was, Dasharatha grieved over his lack of a son and heir. He arranged to perform the elaborate Horse Sacrifice so the gods might grant him this wish. The ritual was bloody and complex: three hundred creatures were sacrificed along with the precious horse, and all of the king’s wisest and most trusted counselors participated.

Yet, however devoted and powerful the city was, Dasharatha grieved over his lack of a son and heir. He arranged to perform the elaborate Horse Sacrifice so the gods might grant him this wish. The ritual was bloody and complex: three hundred creatures were sacrificed along with the precious horse, and all of the king’s wisest and most trusted counselors participated. At the center of the ceremony were the king’s three wives: Kaushalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi. At the completion of the sacrifice Dasharatha was told that he would be granted four sons.

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