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Voices of the Puppet Masters: The Wayang Golek Theater of Indonesia

by Mimi Herbert

Other authors: Nur S. Rahardjo

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"Indonesia's wayang golek puppet theater is among the world's oldest and richest puppetry traditions, contemporary with Japanese Noh drama and the mystery plays of Europe. The puppet masters, many of whom trace their skills back through seven or eight generations, are extraordinary artists. Some are shamans, and many are charismatic performers. The master carvers who create these three-dimensional wooden puppets boast similarly impressive genealogies, and their work draws equally on ancient mystical practices. As the puppet master Tizar Purbaya once explained, "The wayang puppet is not a doll. It follows the dalang [puppet master], but the dalang must also follow it. He gives it soul and it, in return, gives life to him."" "Voices of the Puppet Masters is based on five years of intensive research in Indonesia, including hundreds of hours of discussions and interviews with puppet masters and craftsmen. The author and her Indonesian collaborator visited the artists in their homes, in villages scattered across the length and breadth of Java, attending performances, and even participating in an exorcism ceremony. These performances typically last for many hours, sometimes through the night - theatrical extravaganzas blending religious mysticism with all of the frailties and strengths of the human condition, accompanied by song and a gamelan orchestra."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mimi Herbertprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rahardjo, Nur S.secondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"Indonesia's wayang golek puppet theater is among the world's oldest and richest puppetry traditions, contemporary with Japanese Noh drama and the mystery plays of Europe. The puppet masters, many of whom trace their skills back through seven or eight generations, are extraordinary artists. Some are shamans, and many are charismatic performers. The master carvers who create these three-dimensional wooden puppets boast similarly impressive genealogies, and their work draws equally on ancient mystical practices. As the puppet master Tizar Purbaya once explained, "The wayang puppet is not a doll. It follows the dalang [puppet master], but the dalang must also follow it. He gives it soul and it, in return, gives life to him."" "Voices of the Puppet Masters is based on five years of intensive research in Indonesia, including hundreds of hours of discussions and interviews with puppet masters and craftsmen. The author and her Indonesian collaborator visited the artists in their homes, in villages scattered across the length and breadth of Java, attending performances, and even participating in an exorcism ceremony. These performances typically last for many hours, sometimes through the night - theatrical extravaganzas blending religious mysticism with all of the frailties and strengths of the human condition, accompanied by song and a gamelan orchestra."--BOOK JACKET.

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