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By: Riana Ahmad

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Thursday, 1-Jul-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Wayang Kulit ~ Shadow Play

Wayang Kulit Melayu
They are very colourful
Thin bamboo sticks are attached to the puppets
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"Wayang" means "shadow" and "Kulit" means "skin". Wayang puppets are made of buffalo skin, skincow-hide or goatskin, with fine curving and colorful painting. The Malay culture is a confluence of cultures, as such the wayang kulit not only depicts scenes from the Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabhrata, but also merges Kelantanese folklore with elements from the Ramayana.

The play is conducted by the puppeteer who narrates the story and also speaks out the dialogues. He changes his voice accordingly. He is a versatile man and he is known as the "dalang". While he is talking, he has to move th caharacters around and and move their limbs. His memory is superb. The theatre is a small structure made of wood and bamboo. It is usually about 4 feet above the ground. The screen is called "kelir" and is made of white cotton cloth. The shadow of the puppets are made by a lamp which is is suspended from the roof behind the screen.

Four varieties of shadow play are active in the Malay peninsula:
(a) Wayang Kulit Siam
(b) Wayang Kulit Gedek
(c) Wayang Kulit Purwa and
(d) Wayang Kulit Melayu

Wayang Kulit Siam is the most indigenous of these styles. It is principally performed in the state of Kelantan on the east coast of the Malay peninsula. Wayang kulit siam makes use of a local version of the Indian epic, Ramayana. Existing only in the oral tradition, this version is known as Hikayat Maharaja Wana. The Hikayat Seri Rama provides material for the principal story (cerita pokok). Local extensions of and accresions to the epic have resulted in the creation of a large number of Ramayana branch stories (cerita ranting). These have traditionally been more popular than the pokok story.

Wayang kulit gedek is a variant of the Thai nang talung shadow play, once freely performed in the southern provinces of Thailand and northern Malay states. Unlike the puppets used in the other styles of Malay wayang kulit, the wayang kulit gedek figures are smaller, flimsier and transluscent.

Wayang Kulit Purwa is the classical Javanese shadow play which is believed to have started in the early Christian centuries. Following changes brought about by influences from Hinduism and Islam as well as the patronage it received from various court, the genre developed into a highly elegant style of theatre, using principally, stories from the Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as incorporating mystical ideas. Wayang Kulit Purwa reached the Malay peninsula with the emigration of Javanese commuities into the southern Malay peninsula, into the state of Johore. Beyond that the genre spread into certain districts of Selangor.

Wayang Kulit Melayu makes use of skin puppets derived from Java and typically Javanese in design. The genre maintains many of the performance conventions of the Javanese shadow play styles, including manipulation techniques, rituals as well as music provided by a much-reduced gamelan orchetra, with a Javanese style two-stringed rebab. The major portion of wayang kulit Melayu’s dramatic repertoire comes from the highly popular mediaevel Javanese cycle of Panji romances dealing with the adventures of Raden Inu Kertapati and Galuh Chandra Kirana.

The performance of Wayang Kulit is accompanied by traditional musical instruments, which provide moods and intensity to the play and makes it lively and very expressive.

Thursday, 27-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Lunch Break at Lake Garden (Tasik Perdana)

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Hmmm.... lack of experience keeps me struggling to "shoot" afternoon shots and give more problems with shadows . Looks good jugak (wah!! perasan sendiri), but a little more light may help.....but don't ask me about lighting ler, I wouldn't know were to start!

"I know absolutely nothing - but I know what I like"...

Let's the photos speak for themselves!

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