Asian Art Museum | Education

The best of Asian art at the tip of your fingers for use in the classroom or at home.
Close

Sign up

In My Resources you can save the content you like all in one place. Get started by creating an account.

Create a new account

Buta, a demon

A demon (buta), 1993

A demon (buta), 1993, by Duyeh. Indonesia; Cibiru, West Java. Wood, cloth, and mixed media. From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.86.121.

A demon (buta), 1993

A demon (buta), 1993, by Duyeh. Indonesia; Cibiru, West Java. Wood, cloth, and mixed media. From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.86.121.

A demon (buta), 1993
A demon (buta), 1993

Buta (literally meaning “to be blind”) are the ogres, or demons, who wreak havoc on the universe. In wayang, however, they often take the role of humorous oafs. While the characters from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the great Hindu epics, must adhere to a set standard of iconography, the buta—who are characterized by large bodies, round eyes, blunt noses, and exposed teeth—may be designed, carved, and painted according to the artist’s imagination. Modern buta incorporate a variety of features that appeal to younger audiences. These include body parts that appear to be lopped off in the course of a fight and inner tubes that spray fake blood. The mouth of the buta shown here pops open so that the upper portion of the head can tip back completely to reveal the small, wide-eyed and green-faced ogre inside.

You Might Also Like