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Leather Shadow Puppets

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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 Miniature shadow puppet

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 Ramayana 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 black horn stick, these puppets measure approx 18 cms x 5 cms.

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

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 NB This is a small version puppet and not the full size version

PUP2 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Javanese shadow puppet (Semar)
£18.50 each Buy
Photo of our Balinese shadow puppet

Balinese shadow puppet

A shadow puppet from Bali made from thick buffalo hide with three buffalo horn sticks

This puppet has a mouth which can be operated with a string. He wears the black and white "poleng" cloth - a signifier of spiritual purity.

Size approx: 38 x 21 cms (excluding stick) The length including the stick is 54 cms

PUP6 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Balinese shadow puppet
£33.00 each Buy
Photo of our Chinese Shadow Puppet

Chinese Shadow Puppet

A beautiful little puppet of a young warrior girl with delicate little hands.

In pale translucent leather with horn sticks.

Size approx: 35 x 13 cms

PUP7 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Chinese Shadow Puppet
£45.00 each Buy
Photo of our Yudistira - Javanese shadow puppet

Yudistira - Javanese shadow puppet

Yudistira is a character from the Mahabarata epic story. He is the eldest of the five Pandawa brothers and is held up as an example of a good and moral character.

The puppet is in very finely carved and painted thin leather with three dark buffalo horn carved sticks

Size: 41 x 24 cms (excluding sticks) 61 cms including sticks

PUP4 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Yudistira - Javanese shadow puppet
£48.00 each Buy
Photo of our Laksmana - Javanese shadow puppet

Laksmana - Javanese shadow puppet

Laksmana is the brother of Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic tale, the Ramayana. He goes with Rama to the forest to hunt the golden deer, and is an important character in the story.

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

Size approx: 45 x 22 cms (excluding stick) The length including the stick is 65 cms

PUP5 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Laksmana - Javanese shadow puppet
£48.00 each Buy
Photo of our Subali - Javanese shadow puppet

Subali - Javanese 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 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Subali - Javanese shadow puppet
£48.00 each Buy
Photo of our Rahwana - Javanese shadow puppet

Rahwana - Javanese 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 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Rahwana - Javanese shadow puppet
£60.00 each Buy
Photo of our Greek Shadow Puppets (pair)

Greek Shadow Puppets (pair)

These two are the Greek equivalent of the famous Turkish puppets Hacivat and Karagoz. In Greek they are known as Karaghiozis and Hadjiavatis.

Karagoz (Black eye) is the poor but smart hero of many well known stories where he gets the better of his friend Hacivat and a series of other characters.

These puppets are full sized (48 and 52 cms long and approx 20 cms wide) and come with metal sticks which are used to hold them against the lit screen. They are made from a stiff painted acetate.

PUP12 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Greek Shadow Puppets (pair)
£65.00 per pair Buy
Photo of our Kumbakarna - Javanese Shadow puppet

Kumbakarna - Javanese 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 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Kumbakarna - Javanese Shadow puppet
£75.00 each Buy
Photo of our Complete set of Turkish shadow puppets

Complete set of 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 – Leather Shadow Puppets: Complete set of Turkish shadow puppets
£725.00 per set Buy

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