#RomantikaJakarta: Shadow Puppet Museum

To those who happen to be the same age as me and raised in Indonesia, they must be familiar with Unyil, Cuplis, Usro, Menik, Meilani, et Pak Raden :). I remember the time where  I will sit tightly in front of our oh-so-classic TV to watch them. 

Yuuup... I am talking about Unyil, one of Indonesian most- loved puppet shows on TV. Too bad they don't run the show anymore now, sadly taken over by more modern forms of entertainment, so to speak.

But after all those years, I was pleasantly surprised to meet those childhood characters again in the museum. Puppet Museum, to  be exact :) 

Have you ever been to a puppet museum?

Well, I have now :D...

And it was soooo much fun..

In Jakarta, we have Museum Wayang, or literally translated as Wayang Puppet Museum, or some might say Shadow Puppet Museum.

We went there just weeks before we departed..
The four of us, Bapak, Mama, Bo et Obi, took Busway, or Transjakarta, from National Museum where we parked our car. 
Really an enjoyable ride it was...

enjoying our ride with TransJakarta...

Well, I asume you all are aware of what Wayang is, rite :)...

Traditionally part of the theater performance found in Java and Bali, Wayang, or shadow puppet performance, has been listed as  a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003 by UNESCO, the United Nations' body which focuses on the issues of education, scientific, and cultural at global level. So proud!

Indeed wayang is an extremely invaluable heritage that we have to preserve. Derived from the ancient form of storytelling, this performance surely has caught people's hearts and attention with its elaborated stories, unique techniques and beautifully handcrafted puppets. Get more information on UNESCO heritage list here. And I guess I have to write on various form of wayang later :)

Back to Wayang Museum now.. 

Located in an elegant complex of Old Batavia or Old Jakarta...

or to be exact, at Jl. Pintu Besar Utara no. 27 Jakarta,  Museum Wayang houses many wayangs (for sure :)) from different parts of Indonesia and several samples from other countries as well. 

Quite an extensive collection I can say, although the museum is not that spacious. 
Residing the former church building or de oude Hollandsche Kerk built in 1640, this historical landmark has been transformed into a new church in 1733. 

No wonder, once you step into this building, heading to the display rooms, you will see plaques on the wall mentioning names of high-rank Dutch officials who were buried there. 

Did you notice the famous Batavia Governor's name here? :)

Then long history short, this building was transformed again into the Old Batavia Museum, then to Old Jakarta Museum, until in 1975, Jakartan Governor, Ali Sadikin, decided to turn it into Museum Wayang, that accommodates different types of wayangs from Java, Sumatera, Sulawesi, and many more.

So, what's in this Museum?

Lots of Wayang, Masks and related pieces of arts for sure...

Extensive collections of Wayang Kulit, or wayang made of leather; Wayang Golek, those made of decorated wood; and other forms of wayang, including puppets, are beautifully displayed.

Various characters can be found as well here. Some stories, ranging from Mahabaratha to more local urban legends such as Si Pitung from Betawi and Si Manis Jembatan Ancol are also part of the invaluable collections of this museum. 

Frankly, I really have to learn more about those famous personalities in the Wayang world. There are simply so many of them that make me confused :). For sure more philosophical and moral lessons can be learnt as well from those stories. 

For the masks, they have many samples from different part of the country, like traditional masks from Bali, Jogja, Surakarta, Malang and Cirebon, where my Grandfather from my father side was coming from. Too bad I don't have many pictures of them here.

Well, let's take a look at some of the collections I captured using my smartphone...

Wayang Golek Sunda from West Java...

Prabu Kresna in his giant form...
Si Pitung and the rest...

Familiar with Si Manis Jembatan Ancol? Here are the wayang version of it :)

Gundala..from North Sumatera...

Si Gale-gale from North Sumatera...

Gunungan...used in-between the changing scene...

the famous Panakawan or Punokawan...Semar, Petruk, Gareng, et Bagong...

Some collections from other countries are also interesting to look...Like these ones from India, England, China, Russia and neighboring Malaysia...

So...what do you think? Interesting, isn't?
So come and visit Museum Wayang if you have the chance and tell me what you think :)...

Museum Wayang
Opens every Tuesday to Sunday, except Monday, from 9 am to 3 pm
Entry ticket is Rp 5.000,- ( USD 4) for adults and Rp 3.000,- (USD 2) for kids :)


  1. Si Manis Jembatan Ancol sama Sigale-gale bonekanya rada-rada serem ya, Mbak.. Hiiii.. Tetiba merinding :P

  2. Those are some really artistic puppets! I'd love to go to that museum!

    *Going up Pikes Peak on the train was great for adults and kids. We just drove all day before that moment. Isaak was sleepy. Possibly the altitude messed with him to.

  3. Si manis jembatan ancol ada juga? Woooo jd pengen ke sana


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