Wayang kulit is a traditional form of a puppet-shadow play originally found in the cultures of Java and Bali in Indonesia. In a wayang kulit performance, the puppet figures are rear-projected on a taut linen screen with a coconut oil (or electric) light.
The dalang (puppeteers) manipulate carved leather figures between the lamp and the screen to bring the shadows to life. The narratives of wayang kulit often have to do with the major theme of good vs evil.
Wayang kulit is one of the many different forms of wayang theatre found in Indonesia; the others include wayang beber, wayang klitik, wayang golek, wayang topeng, and wayang wong. Wayang kulit is among the best known, offering a unique combination of ritual, lesson and entertainment.
On November 7, 2003, UNESCO designated Wayang, the flat leather shadow puppet (wayang kulit), the flat wooden puppet (wayang klitik), and the three-dimensional wooden puppet (wayang golek) theatre, as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. In return for the acknowledgement, UNESCO required Indonesians to preserve the tradition.
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