Shadow puppet, Petruk

This puppet represents the character Petruk in the Javanese 'wayang kulit' or leather shadow puppet theatre tradition. Together with his brothers, Bagong and Gareng and their father Semar, they are generally known as the 'panakawan' or witty friends. Apart from providing comic relief, they serve as the wise friends and advisers to the noble characters in the wayang. The vast majority of the 'wayang' plays performed are drawn from the two great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as well as local stories of Javanese origin. 'Wayang kulit' is considered the highest of the Javanese 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 days and religious ceremonies. It has also been adapted more recently for television and public education campaigns.

Indigenous Name
wayang kulit
20th century
Java, Indonesia
Object size: H94.5cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Theatre Artefacts