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Museum Wayang

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The Museum Wayang or Puppet Museum showcases Indonesia’s most iconic form of theatre with an extensive collection of many forms of Indonesian puppets, as well as displays of puppets and dolls from around the world, housed on the site of a former Dutch colonial church in Jakarta’s Fatahillah Square.





The museum building was built in 1912 in a style reflecting Dutch townhouses typical of the 17th and 18th centuries. In the early days of Batavia it had been the location of a church, or rather two churches, De Oude Hollandsche Kerk (the Old Dutch Church) first built in 1640 and later in 1732 replaced by De Nieuwe Hollandsche Kerk (the New Dutch Church). Large tombstones of VOC bigwigs that had formed the floor of the churches are on display in the museum’s courtyard.

Puppet central. Photo taken in or around Museum Wayang, Jakarta, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Puppet central. Photo: Sally Arnold

Wayang means “shadow” or “reflection” and it is generally understood that it refers to shadow puppets, and while this has some basis, the true meaning refers to a shadow of the gods or ancestors or at least the character’s spirit embodied by the puppet. Wayang can be wayang kulit—shadow puppets, wayang golek—three-dimensional wooden rod puppets, wayang potehi—Chinese-style hand puppets, or even wayang wong—masked human theatre, plus a whole lot more. Wayang has played an important role in Indonesia’s history with the artform primarily being used to pass stories from generation to generation, but also used to spread religious or political messages. Early references to the wayang in Indonesia are from first century inscriptions and the form is still popular today with puppet shows on TV and shared via smartphones. Wayang puppet theatre is listed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Museum Wayang
25 Jalan Pintu Besar Utara, Jakarta
Tu–Su: 08:00–17:00
T: (0216) 929 560 
https://museumseni.jakarta.go.id/museum-wayang
Admission: 5,000 rupiah

Location map for Museum Wayang

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