This puppet represents the character of Hanuman, a monkey god, in the Hindu epic Ramayana. It is made out of water buffalo and goat hide and mounted on bamboo sticks and hand painted. Ramayana is among the popular wayang stories performed in the Javanese 'wayang kulit', or leather shadow puppet theater tradition. In Ramayana, Hanuman is Rama’s protector and helps to rescue Rama’s wife, Sita. Hanuman still has a widespread following and is worshiped for strength, health and fearlessness. Mahabharata and Wayang kulit are considered the highest of the performing arts. Performed in the royal courts of Java as early as the ninth century, this tradition continues to be treasured as one of the pusaka or sacred heirlooms of the court. Wayang kulit is traditionally performed on ritual feast days and religious ceremonies.
Austin Friends of Folk Art