Primary Source

Javanese Shadow Puppets

Wayang Kulit Performance


Music and dramatized storytelling are the tools of memory in places like the Indonesian island of Java. Here, a traditional Wayang, or Javanese, performance depicts Hindu epics or popular cultural legends through the use of leather puppets whose shadow is cast upon a thin fabric. Traditionally, the performance is backed by a Gamelan orchestra and usually lasts all night. Indeed, when Wayang is transported and performed in the West, performers and musicians have to adapt the stories and music to meet their audience's expectations that the show will only be two hours long.

This source is a part of the Analyzing Music methods module.


"Puppets and Gamelan at Fusion Fridays!," USC Pacific Asia Museum,

How to Cite This Source

"Javanese Shadow Puppets," in World History Commons, [accessed May 28, 2024]