Shadow puppet, Bagong

This shadow puppet depicts the character of Bagong, a clown servant who is usually shown with a pot-belly. The group of clown servants, known as punakawan (or witty friends), usually comprise the three brothers, Bagong, Petruk and Gareng and their father Semar. They inject humour into the plays and are revered for their words of wisdom. They appear alongside characters from the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, adapted and performed in the Javanese ‘wayang kulit’, or leather shadow puppet theatre tradition. Wayang kulit is 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. It has also been adapted for television and public education campaigns.

Indigenous Name
wayang kulit - Bagong
20th century
Java, Indonesia
Object size: H 76 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Suwanda Suna
Theatre Artefacts