Make time for this spellbinding and informative attraction. Dedicated to the ancient traditions of shadow puppetry from the Javanese region, Museum Wayang offers visitors a chance to experience an art form that is very much a part of the country's rich cultural heritage.
Ideal for those looking to do some Jakarta sightseeing, this fascinating museum is home to a wide range of puppets or "wayangs" which were used in days of old to tell stories from local folklore as well as tales from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, two epics sacred to Hinduism.
Opened in 1975, Museum Wayang stands on the site of what used to be an Old Dutch Church that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1808 and subsequently rebuilt as a warehouse. The building was later purchased by the Batavia Society of Arts and Sciences and is now home to this unique collection of puppets from Indonesia as well as from such countries as China, India, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Among the many unique items one can view here are the well known "wayang golek", "wayang kulit" and "wayang beber" puppets, while visitors can also learn about the stories behind the characters and their cultural significance. Apart from the varied leather and wooden puppet collections, other items of interest at the museum include a variety of sculptures, paintings and masks and "gamelan" sets which are the traditional musical instruments used in the performances.
Museum Wayang also plays a valuable role in preserving this traditional art form by carrying out training programmes and workshops, while those wanting to get a firsthand experience of this ancient puppet theatre can visit during Sundays when performances take place starting at 10:00am.