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Panji (and sometimes other refined male characters), perhaps 1800–1900

Panji (and sometimes other refined male characters)

Panji (and sometimes other refined male characters), perhaps 18001900. Indonesia; Tegal, Central Java. Wood, cloth, and mixed media. From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.86.18.

Panji (and sometimes other refined male characters)

Panji (and sometimes other refined male characters), perhaps 18001900. Indonesia; Tegal, Central Java. Wood, cloth, and mixed media. From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.86.18.

Panji (and sometimes other refined male characters)
Panji (and sometimes other refined male characters)

This puppet belongs to the theater tradition called wayang golek cepak (cepak means “flat”), a name that refers to the style in which the puppets are carved. These puppets perform Javanese tales including the romantic adventures of Panji, an East Javanese prince, as well as stories of Amir Hamzah, the uncle of the prophet Muhammad. This puppet represents the handsome and brave prince Panji, who goes in search of his beloved bride Candra Kirana (“Radiant Ray of the Moon”), the princess of Kediri. On the eve of their wedding day, the princess mysteriously disappears. A demoness who wants prince Panji for herself takes the form of a beautiful princess and tells the prince that she is his wife but has been transformed by the goddess Durga. Meanwhile, Candra Kirana finds herself deep in the forest, where she attracts the attention of the gods. Disguised by the gods as a man, she travels to the palace to be reunited with her husband. When the demoness’s true identity is revealed, Candra Kirana magically vanishes. Panji goes in search of his bride, who has since become the king of Bali. In the climax, the prince fights with the disguised Chandra Kirana. According to the gods’ command, she must draw Panji’s blood in order to reveal her true identity. For a long time, neither of them brings harm to the other, but eventually princess Candra Kirana draws her hairpin and pricks prince Panji; thus she is finally reunited with her beloved.