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The Many Facets of Wayang Golek

An expressive form of art that combines influences from religion, literature, music, dance and shadow play, wayang golek, or wooden doll puppet theatre, represents a vibrant part of the culture of the Sundanese people of Indonesia.

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The puppets, with their many faces and personalities representing distinct character types, are controlled by a puppeteer master, or dalang, who operates the figures from a central wooden rod that runs through the body to the head of a puppet. The simple and straightforward construction allows the puppets to be highly versatile and expressive in their range of motions, while the elaborate costumes and headdresses give additional clues to the audience as to what kind of character each puppet represents. With performances accompanied by a gamelan orchestra and singers, wayang golek is truly a multifaceted art form that can educate with wise life lessons and delight with slapstick humour.