Shadow puppet made of perforated painted hide. Character 'Aria Bima' with 'pandchanaka'; short curved blade in each hand and twin eyed garudas on each thigh. One horn support on one arm.
- 1800-1816 (probably)
- Made in: Java
- Found/Acquired: Java
- Length: 75 centimetres (top of hair to feet)
- Width: 38 centimetres (heel to toe)
- Width: 30.5 centimetres (shoulder to shoulder)
Inscription ContentAria Bima
For further reading, see:
Jeune Scott-Kemball, 'Javanese Shadow Puppets', BMP, 1970;
James R. Brandon, 'On Thrones of Gold, Three Javanese Shadow Plays', Harvard, 1970;
Shelagh Weir, 'Shadow Play Puppets', "Discovering Antiquities", 1971, Issue 72, pp.1725-1728;
'Lordly Shades, Wayang Purwa Indonesia', published through the generosity of Bapak Probosoetedjo, Jakarta, 1984;
Ward Keeler, 'Javanese Shadow Plays', Princeton, 1987;
Nigel Barley (ed.), 'The Golden Sword, Stamford Raffles and the East', BMP, 1999. Raffles Register, 1949, Section I, Wayang Purwa 69.
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Temporary display in G90 from mid-September 2010 to 14 Jan 2011
18 June 2009
Reason for analysis
Examination of the pigments used on a Javanese shadow puppet (Bima, As1859,1228.675)As1859,1228.724, As1859,1228.664 and As1859,1228.530
The puppet is painted with a simple palette consisting of vermilion, indigo, and orpiment along with bone white and lamp black (identified by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and Raman spectroscopy), for the most part applied skilfully with a smooth finish. All of the other colours are obtained by mixing these basic materials. In many areas, a decorative pattern based on a regular gradation in colour from lighter shades to darker has been used. Additionally, much of the puppet is gilded with gold leaf, applied over an orpiment-containing layer. All of these features are typical of objects of this type.There is some evidence of overpainting and decorative change, but these alterations have been carried out using the same common materials and it is not possible establish a chronology for them.
Analysis reference number
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Object reference number: EAS32220
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