Introduction to puppet theater (wayang) of Indonesia
- Wayang beber is the art form considered to be the predecessor of Indonesian puppetry. In this narrative tradition, long, painted scrolls are explicated by a human performer. Today, wayang beber is rarely performed.
- Wayang kulit is performed with shadow puppets made of water buffalo hide and is said to have developed from scroll puppetry. This form is most popular in Bali, where it is called wayang kulit parwa, and in Central Java, where it is called wayang kulit purwa. The leather puppets are carved with intricate designs and painted. Buffalo horn is used for the rods that manipulate the figures.
- Wayang wong is human dance drama based on wayang puppet theater. This genre was popular in both courts and villages until the 1960s.
- Wayang golek is performed with three-dimensional wooden rod puppets. It is most popular along the north coast of Java and in Sunda, the highland area of West Java. Wayang golek has two major variants: Wayang (golek) cepak is a form employed by dalang (puppet masters) on the north coast. They use puppets that sport Javanese dress to perform a repertoire consisting of tales from the Javanese and Islamic traditions: stories of Prince Panji’s endless search for his beloved princess, of grasscutter Damar Wulan’s rise from doing menial work to marrying a queen and defeating her bitter foe, and of Amir Hamzah, the uncle of Muhammad, and his defeat of those who attack his Islamic kingdom. An alternate name for the tales of Amir Hamzah is wayang menak. Wayang golek purwa has been the favored form in the highlands of West Java for the past 150 years. Here the dancing puppets present stories from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana repertoire.
The dalang dances the puppets.
The puppets are danced not knowing in whose hand.
The screen hides the Lord, the power unseen.
 Anderson, Benedict, Mythology and Tolerance of the Javanese (Ithaca: Cornell University, Modern Indonesia Project, Southeast Asia Program, 1965).