Wayang Museum, Jakarta
Wayang Goleks are wooden doll puppets that are used in imitating humans for their expressiveness. The puppets are operated by rods connected to the hands and central rod all over the body to the head.
Wayang Golek Purwa- The most popular among wayang goleks. The puppets describe Batara Satrugna , Rama Wijaya, Goddess of Shinta and Lesmana after a fight that involved Rama Wijaya and Rahwana. After Rama Wijaya won the fight, the four eminent figures went back to Ayodya.
My friend and I learned a lot about the rich value of Indonesian culture through the various displays of wayang (puppets) with the guidance of Daniel, the owner of the Musuem Wayang.
Wayang Kulit or shadow puppets are the most popular among the Indonesian wayang. According to Daniel, this is one of the most complicated wayang and may take a few weeks to create. The material used comes from a buffalo’s skin. Models are traced out onto the skin and smoothed several times after a thorough inspection is done then the painting follows with the movable parts (hands, feet, etc.) are attached.
Daniel said that he and his staffs are very meticulous in creating one. They are very detailed with the figures and the edges that every masterpiece should be perfect. If there should be any deformity while the skin is being cut, no matter how valuable the skin is, it will be discarded. This really takes gradual effort and expertise of the craftsmen. He also mentioned that in other souvenir stores, they sell a cheaper price of Wayang Kulit but made from goat’s skin which does not last and easily becomes crispy.
Wayang in English means theatre or puppets. This was originally a product of the Royal Court Culture. It was first used as an instrument to worship the ancestors, and after the Hindu culture entered Indonesia around the 5th century, the value was developed. Museum Wayang presents various characters, attitude and behavior of the wayang story from many regions.
Entrance ticket costs:
Adult IDR 5000, College Students IDR 3000, Children IDR 2000
Group (minimum 30 people):
Adult IDR 3750, College Students IDR 2250, Children IDR 1500
Opens: Tuesday-Sunday 9-3pm
When we arrived at the museum’s entrance, we were very lucky to be accompanied by the owner of the museum, Daniel and gave a tour around. He was very friendly, enthusiastic and speaks English well. He also gave us a booklet of Jakarta’s Cultural Heritage (I‘m not sure if this is given for all since I haven’t seen it with the other visitors) and a Museum Wayang’s pamphlet. Along the hallway, there are a lot of Wayang Golek (wooden doll puppets) displayed in a cabinet which amazed me! In between the cabinets, there were big, literally big wayang goleks that looks very humane and pretty much scares the hell out of me! I don’t like those big puppets! It makes me feel like I was in a horror movie… I can’t help myself imagining that they their “eyes” or “limbs” move as we take a look around. However, I can’t resist not taking a picture with it, just for once!
I’m very much amused of the displayed puppets that were originated from various countries such as Malaysia, India, Cambodia, China, Poland, Vietnam, France, Russia and Suriname. There were more of wayang collections displayed in the upper floor of the museum such as wayang kulit (shadow puppets), wayang masks, wayang statue, wayang paintings, gamelan (traditional music instruments), etc.
Souvenir items are being sold at the museum’s exit.
This puppet museum is a bit for specialists or not very pedagogic laid out; a bit a pity as there are lots of examples of puppets from different areas of Indonesia, and they also reflect a bit the cultural life of that country. For instance, on the first picture here, are modern characters, showing that there is not only the old Hindu epics which are played in the theatres, but also some critics of the time, some satiric plays.
When you enter the museum, you pass by gamelan orchestra instruments (picture 2), as in Java, that music goes traditionally with the theatre; close to the entrance are also giant puppets (I do not know how they are played. . . ) and the young girls kindly posed for me to give an idea of the size of this puppet.
We have seen French puppets in the previous tip, here are Chinese puppets (picture 4) where it seem easy to see the good and bad. . . .
And what does this bird (picture 5) do in a puppet museum? It is a lamp for creating the shades for the wayang kulit; the light of petrol lamps is not regular and homogeneous, it gives more dramatic atmosphere to the theatre representations.
09.00 - 15.00 WIB
Closed Mondays and public holidays
Entrance: Rp. 2.000
Wayang is the old Malay word designating puppets, and puppets theatres are very important in South East Asian culture; the Javanese puppets are famous. Wayang existed on Java before the Hindu culture settled on this Island and developed during the 6th to 11 th centuries; the wayang since is more or less codified and the main characters of Ramayana or Mahabharata are most represented and symbolised ; it is all a matter of good (Halus, delicate faces, clear voices, thin nose. . . . ) and bad (Kasar, big coarse faces, shouting, round eyes. . . ) and the fight between them. This here is extreme simplification, and best is to read in a guide or a specialised book; I can recommend a short introduction here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayang
The little brochure you can get at the entrance of the museum does not help a lot for explaining what you will see.
Well, it is about puppets, local and foreign. Most displays are behind glass and pictures are not easy to take. A wooden puppet (Wayang golek) of Petruk (picture 1), who is a servant of “good” kings; on picture 2, wayang kulit (leather puppets) played with shades projected on a screen); a “good” character on the right, bad characters on the left.
On picture 3, Semar, father of Petruk, a “good” clever character, despite his physical appearance. . . nothing is simple. . .
The show windows in the museum are a bit . . . . . crowded (picture 4), probably to make some space to . . . . newcomers! On picture 5 are the very famous puppets from Lyon (France) with Guignol (in the back corner) and the gendarme. . . Gift from a French president to Indonesia.
Excellent pictures and a good text (click on the last picture down right) about Sundanese Wayang Golek are on this website: http://www.pbase.com/amoxtli/wayang_golek
At the time of writing the tip, the beautiful Wayang website : http://www.wayang-indonesia.com/ had been hacked; try to have a look when you read, it will be repaired?
09.00 - 15.00 WIB
Closed Mondays and public holidays
Entrance: Rp. 2.000
A must visit place. The display of wayang kulit and also the histroy and culture is simplay amazing. Not only do they display the traditional puppets, there was also the gigantic puppets and also puppets from all the other parts of the worth. For just Rp2000 entrance fee, it is really worth it. Enough said, go there and enjoy yourself...
Throughout Indonesia the arts are intertwined with everyday life. No where is that so true as with wayang kulit. For tourists, wayang kulit is used to explain the most famous of plays in southeast asia-the Ramayana. For locals, besides acting out the Ramayana and other plays, the puppets would re-tell the news or make fun of it and key politicians.
This museum is run by very friendly people, who love their craft. They have a stunning collection of various puppets. I loved the shadow puppets, that looked like Dutch residents. Very funny. They also have puppets from all around the world.
Wayang is the traditional Indonesian art of puppetry, and it is still practiced widely throughout the archipelago. The Wayang Museum in Jakarta's old city houses a wonderful collection of old and new puppets, both wooden ones as well as leather, which are used for Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) performances.
The museum curator is a young and friendly man who has a long history of Wayang making and performing in his family. Since we arrived on a particularly slow day, he staged a short Wayang Kulit performance for us all by himself. They also sell a few beautiful Wayang pieces at reasonable prices and much better quality than the ones in tourist shops.
This used to be an old church from the dutch period that later on was rebuild to store goods..
An interesting collection , a lot of different puppets. I'm afraid also that this museum only gets interesting when you got a passionate guide with you.
We met Aldy , the conservator and a passionate wayang player. His father made some of the puppets in the museum.
Ofcourse he will offer you a free , short puppet play in his office and drag you afterwards to the gift shop. (who cares , we enjoyed his presence and were happy to support the museum and his passion)
By the way , did you know that Wayang-puppets that are made to last are made of buffalo leather . They last for ages and don't wrinkle or the colors don't fade out...
(check opening times , in general from 9 till 15h)
Don't forget to look at the gifts from different countries in the back of the museum....