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Shadow puppet of the monkey hero Hanuman in the guise of Ravana's heir riding a chariot into battle, from the Thai version of the epic of Rama
Place of Origin: Thailand
Date: approx. 1800-1900
Materials: Hide with pigments, bamboo
Dimensions: H. 69 1/2 in x W. 46 in, H. 176.5 cm x W. 116.8 cm
Credit Line: Gift from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Southeast Asian Art Collection
Department: Southeast Asian Art
Collection: Theatrical Arts
Object Number: 2006.27.115.3
On Display: No

Description

Label:

Several sorts of puppet performances using large or small shadow puppets or three-dimensional rod puppets were popular forms of entertainment in Siam. In the large shadow-puppet theater in which puppets such as those shown here were used, the stories were all drawn from the epic of Rama, known in Thai as the Rammakian.

In performance each large leather puppet, which has no moving parts, is held and manipulated by a puppeteer while a male narrator tells the story accompanied by a Siamese classical orchestra.

Here Rama's monkey ally, Hanuman, has tricked Ravana, the villainous ten-headed demon king of Lanka, into believing that he would like to switch sides and battle Rama. Ravana has rewarded Hanuman by making him his heir and has sent him into battle. Here Hanuman is dressed in a high crown and royal garb showing his new, princely rank, instead of in his usual costume, a tiara and short trousers. While Hanuman rides into battle, the gesture of his left hand, thumb to chin, indicates that he is thinking, or perhaps scheming.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma" Asian Art Museum, October 23, 2009 - January 10, 2010
Label:

Several sorts of puppet performances using large or small shadow puppets or three-dimensional rod puppets were popular forms of entertainment in Siam. In the large shadow-puppet theater in which puppets such as those shown here were used, the stories were all drawn from the epic of Rama, known in Thai as the Rammakian.

In performance each large leather puppet, which has no moving parts, is held and manipulated by a puppeteer while a male narrator tells the story accompanied by a Siamese classical orchestra.

Here Rama's monkey ally, Hanuman, has tricked Ravana, the villainous ten-headed demon king of Lanka, into believing that he would like to switch sides and battle Rama. Ravana has rewarded Hanuman by making him his heir and has sent him into battle. Here Hanuman is dressed in a high crown and royal garb showing his new, princely rank, instead of in his usual costume, a tiara and short trousers. While Hanuman rides into battle, the gesture of his left hand, thumb to chin, indicates that he is thinking, or perhaps scheming.


Exhibition History: "Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma" Asian Art Museum, October 23, 2009 - January 10, 2010