This puppet represents the character Batara Guru in the Javanese 'wayang kulit' or leather shadow puppet theatre tradition. Batara Guru is the Javanese name of the Hindu deity, Shiva. He is also known as Sang Hyang Manikmaya, the deity who watches over the world of men.The vast majority of the ‘wayang’ plays performed are drawn from the two great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata with as well as stories of Javanese origin. 'Wayang kulit' is considered as 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.