The last of the puppeteers?


While UNESCO designated Wayang Kulit (Malaysian shadow puppetry) as part of world cultural heritage in 2003, it may well not be around much longer, as only a handful of master puppeteers remain… around 10 in fact – in the Wayang Kulit Melayu Traditional Kelantan (WKMTK).

Originally based on Hindu epics, shadow puppetry was introduced to Southeast Asia in the 15th century and promoted by Java’s Hindu rulers.
Pak Daim (Muhammad Dain Othman) which regularly performs in his Wayang Kulit gallery in Kampung Morak, Kelantan, is under the sponsorship of the Federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

Today, the traditional figures have made way – in one instance – to those of Star Wars.

“If we, the puppeteers, didn’t change ourselves, the art of shadow play would not be popular anymore,” says Daim. “That is why, with my team, we created these new figures following an agreement with Lucas Film, based on an original idea by Tintoy Chuo”.

Hall 26a / Stand 117