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Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets

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Felt Dolls from Kyrgyzstan

  

Lovely little felt characters, hand-made in the traditional way by women in Kyrgyzstan. We first came across these felt dolls in The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul in the shop of a Kazak friend of ours. We bought 12, sold them immediately and asked him to send us more.  When we realised that we would be going through Kyrgyzstan on our "Great Cross Asia Textile Journey" we decided to find the workshop where they came from.

It took a long time to track them down to a small workshop in the capital, Bishkek. It had originally been set up with the help of a UNESCO grant to give work to women with traditional felt making skills. Now it stands alone as a great little business and we continue to sell their lovely individually made felt ladies (and the occasional man!)

For lots more on the story of these dolls and feltmaking in Kyrgyzstan, read my blog "Felt Dollies From Bishkek"

Wayang kulit shadow puppets from Java

We have been collecting shadow puppets (called "wayang kulit" since we first fell in love with traditional Javanese shadow theatre on our first trip to Java in 1983. They are becoming more expensive and its now harder to find decent second hand ones, so here are a few of our favourites. These puppets are all full sized, authentic and made for puppeteers - not tourists. They have been well loved and well used and are in various states of repair. Many battles have been fought and tales told with these wonderful works of art!

Photo of our Natalya (tall felt doll)
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Natalya (tall felt doll)

Natalya is a beautiful tall lady with an embroidered waistcoat and head band and a full traditional head dress.

Height: 24 cms (9.5 inches)

FD3 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Natalya (tall felt doll)
£28.50 each Buy
Photo of our Mirkul (felt doll with baby in her arms)
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Mirkul (felt doll with baby in her arms)

Mirkul is named after the young woman in Bishkek who sends our lovely felt dolls to us.

Mirkul carries her young child in her arms. Height: 19 cms (7.5 inches)

FD02 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Mirkul (felt doll with baby in her arms)
£25.00 each Buy
Photo of our Tatyana (felt doll with her baby on her back)
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Tatyana (felt doll with her baby on her back)

Tatyana carries her little baby on her back. Like the other young women, she has two long plaits under her head scarf. Height: 19 cms (7.5 inches)
 

FD1 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Tatyana (felt doll with her baby on her back)
£25.00 each Buy
Photo of our Yuliya (felt doll with toddler at her side)
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Yuliya (felt doll with toddler at her side)

Yuliya has her little boy with his cute blue hat next to her. She has a totally individual very kindly expression as each doll is hand sewn. Height: 19 cms. (7.5 inches)

 

FD2 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Yuliya (felt doll with toddler at her side)
£25.00 each Buy
Photo of our Dinara (felt-maker doll)
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Dinara (felt-maker doll)

Dinara is named after our friend who runs the "Altyn Kol" women's felt making co-operative in Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan.

Dinara carries her felt rug (called a "shyrdak") with her. Thick felt rugs like these are used to keep the floor and walls of the house or yurt cosy during the cold winter months. Height 19 cms (7.5 inches)

FD01 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Dinara (felt-maker doll)
£25.00 each Buy
Photo of our Jamilya (felt Baboushka doll)

Jamilya (felt Baboushka doll)

Jamilya is our very sweet Babouskha (grandma) of the family. She wears a traditional head dress and ikat design felt dress and has two long plaits.

She stands approx 18 cms (7 inches) tall

FD8 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Jamilya (felt Baboushka doll)
£24.50 each Buy
Photo of our Usen (felt man)

Usen (felt man)

Usen stands tall in his long felted coat with collar and green cosy traditional hat.

Height: approx 22 cms (8.5 inches) tall

FD4 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Usen (felt man)
£26.00 each Buy
Photo of our Miniature shadow puppet
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Miniature shadow puppet

These miniature leather shadow puppets are made for children so that they can familiarise themselves with the amazing shadow theatre stories of the Rmayana and the Mahabarata which are central to much of Javanese culture.

To choose a male or female character, please mention it in the Comments section at Check out.

Made of painted leather with a bamboo stick, these puppets measure approx 18 cms x 5 cms.

PUP3 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Miniature shadow puppet
£6.50 each Buy
Photo of our Javanese shadow puppet (Semar)
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Javanese shadow puppet (Semar)

A very important character in the Javanese shadow theatre, Semar is the father of the four Panakawan - the servants of the hero who are both extremely funny but also wise and perceptive. They can be used to bring all kinds of topical messages to the popular puppet shows.

Semar is said to embody the guardian spirit of Java.

Painted leather and bamboo handles.

Size:  40 cms (including stick) x 17 cms

PUP2 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Javanese shadow puppet (Semar)
£17.50 each Buy
Photo of our Golden deer shadow puppet
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Golden deer shadow puppet

The golden deer takes an essential part in the story of the Ramayana as it entices Sita the heroine to leave the sacred protective circle and into the hands of the villain Rahwana her kidnapper.

Leather with one central wooden stick

Size 33 x 37 cms (excluding the stick)

PUP11 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Golden deer shadow puppet
£40.00 each Buy
Photo of our Sita leather shadow puppet
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Sita leather shadow puppet

Sita is the heroine of the Ramayana story.

This puppet is a beauty - in very finely carved and painted thin leather with three pale buffalo horn sticks

Size:36 x 16 cms (excluding sticks)

PUP4 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Sita leather shadow puppet
£45.00 each Buy
Photo of our Rama shadow puppet
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Rama shadow puppet

Rama is the hero of the Hindu epic tale, the Ramayana. He is the Prince of  Ayodhya and husband of Sita. He wears an intricate crown.

A finely carved and painted thin leather puppet with wooden arm and central sticks.

Size approx: 53 x 27 cms (excluding stick) The length including the stick is 70 cms

PUP5 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Rama shadow puppet
£45.00 each Buy
Photo of our Subali shadow puppet
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Subali shadow puppet

Subali is one of the red monkey twins in the story of the Ramayana Hindu epic tale.

This puppet is old and well used with some repairs. As the monkeys fight in a spectacular fashion during the traditional shadow show, its not surprising that these characters show much wear and tear!

Carved and painted leather with two wooden arm sticks and a central wooden stick with a metal end protector.

Size approx: 52 x 33 cms (excluding stick) The length including the stick is 70 cms

PUP8 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Subali shadow puppet
£45.00 each Buy
Photo of our Hanoman shadow puppet
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Hanoman shadow puppet

Hanoman is a very famous character - the white monkey who is very wise and the leader of the monkey nation.

This puppet has a tail which winds itself all the way up to the top of his head. He wears the black and white "poleng" cloth - a signifier of spiritual purity.

Carved and painted leather with two wooden arm sticks and a central buffalo horn stick which has been repaired and replaced with bamboo at the top.

Size approx: 51 x 31 cms (excluding stick) The length including the stick is 71 cms

PUP6 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Hanoman shadow puppet
£60.00 each Buy
Photo of our Rahwana shadow puppet
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Rahwana shadow puppet

Rahwana is a pretty bad man - it is he who tricks and kidnaps the Princess Sita while Rama is out hunting the golden deer.

This is an impressive but an old puppet with some broken central stick issues

Carved and painted leather with a wooden arm stick and a central buffalo horn stick.

Size approx: 62 x 31 cms (excluding stick) The length including the stick is 85 cms

PUP9 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Rahwana shadow puppet
£60.00 each Buy
Photo of our Sugriwa shadow puppet

Sugriwa shadow puppet

Sugriwa is one of the red monkey twins who fights with each other. He has wonderful decorative carved wings, a winding tail and a red face with pointy teeth

A beautiful finely carved and painted leather puppet with three buffalo horn sticks. The central stick is split near the top. 

Size approx: 55 x 35 cms (excluding stick) The length including the stick is 75 cms

PUP7 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Sugriwa shadow puppet
£70.00 each Buy
Photo of our Kumbakarna Shadow puppet
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Kumbakarna Shadow puppet

This huge puppet is Kumbakarna - the younger brother of Rahwana. Although he is an enormous and pretty fiersome warrior, he is reputed to be of good character.

Made of thick carved leather with two wooden sticks.

Size: 73 x 48 cms excluding the central stick (Length with the stick is 96 cms)

PUP10 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Kumbakarna Shadow puppet
£75.00 each Buy
Photo of our Jatayhu shadow puppet
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Jatayhu shadow puppet

What a beautiful thing! This large puppet depicts the mythical bird Jatayhu who rescues the Princess Sita from the clutches of Rahwana and flies her back home.

Jatahyu is the nephew of another Javanese mythical bird Garuda. (Also the name of the Indonesian National airline - I always love the thought of flying on Garuda's back across the world back to Java)

Size: 55 x 57 cms (excluding the stick) Length 75 cms including the stick

PUP12 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Jatayhu shadow puppet
£85.00 each Buy
Photo of our Gunungan leather shadow show piece
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Gunungan leather shadow show piece

An amazing, beautiful and essential part of the traditional Javanese shadow show. The "Gunungan" begins and ends each scene of the tale.

On one side is the tree of life with monkeys, birds, tiger, snake and bull all representing qualities. The gates of the temple are guarded by spirit guardians.

On the reverse is the Barong  spirit. Finely carved and painetd leather with a dark buffalo horn handle.

This is a full size authentic piece Size:78 x 45 cms excluding handle (the length including the handle is 1 metre)

PUP13 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Gunungan leather shadow show piece
£150.00 each Buy
Photo of our Set of 33 Turkish shadow puppets

Set of 33 Turkish shadow puppets

 A set of 33 genuine leather shadow puppets from Istanbul, Turkey used to perform the Hacivat and Karagoz stories. The figures are all around 28 cms tall and all come with a stick which will go into the reinforced leather hole and hold them against a screen

The set consists of:

  1. Karagoz
  2. Hacivat
  3. Karagoz trapped in an earthenware pot
  4. Hacivat  with the body of a goat
  5. Karagoz with the body of a donkey
  6. Hacivat and Karagoz in a rowing boat
  7. a male and a female dancer
  8. a male musician playing a saz
  9. a female musician playing a guitar
  10. Husmen the wrestler
  11. Rumeli the dwarf
  12. a pasha or rich man
  13. an opium smoker
  14. a naked witch riding on a dragon
  15. a gypsy fortune teller
  16. a lady with umbrella and veil
  17. a woman with tulip (Karagoz's wife)
  18. a market seller with paniers
  19. a fruit seller with basket
  20. a woodcutter with axe
  21. a janissary or soldier
  22. a night watchman with his lantern
  23. a fish seller with 3 fish
  24. a camel and an owl
  25. a snake and a small dragon
  26. 3 elephants - one very large and two small
  27. 2 scenery pieces - a traditional house and a lemon tree in a pot

 

PUP1 – Felt Dolls and Shadow Puppets: Set of 33 Turkish shadow puppets
£750.00 per set Buy

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