Puppets and Masks – Different Kinds of Sculpture

While we were in Bali, we had the good fortune to visit the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets. This magnificent collection was the most amazing place we visited! It’s not a museum yet, it probably will be by next year. The collection consists of over 4,000 pieces , mostly from Indonesia and Southeast Asia. The goal is to preserve the art form and educate the public. Anyone going to Bali should make the effort to visit! It’s out of the way and took a bit of doing to get to but here is a map and information that should make it easy. You’ll need transportation, it’s not walking distance. On the map, Arma is a famous museum, definitely worth going to, and there is a good local warung to eat at around the corner!

Setia Darma Bali map

Location is just outside of Ubud, Bali

We’ve been interested in puppets for a long time, and as an art form,  they combine both sculpture and performance.  The audience suspends their perception of reality and uses the normally suppressed imagination to transform the world. Movies don’t work the same way, they present the film makers reality already imagined.  Shadow puppets are an even more complicated experience. The actors are heavily abstracted, and even if you don’t understand the language, the sense of drama and story come through. It’s a lot to think about.

Kumbakarna mask

Kumbakarna, brother of Rahwana from the Ramayana

Puppets at Setia Darma

Here is a small sample of the puppets in the collection here

And on returning, I found the NY Post had published this article about the victory, although I’m not sure if it was in print or just electronic.


~ by scultore on November 2, 2009.

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