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WAYANG KULIT FIGURES FROM NORTH BALI

There are three main collections of old wayang kulit figures. The Dutch linguist Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk collected figures when he lived in Singaraja between 1870 and 1894. He wanted to use them for his Kawi-Balinese-Dutch Dictionary which was printed in four volumes between 1879 and 1912. He refers to the wayang puppets in his dictionary. After Van der Tuuk’s death, his notes, books and collections were given to the Leiden University Library. The wayang figures were added to the collection of the Municipal Museum of Ethnology in Leiden (Nos. RMV 2601)

The second collection was bought for the Colonial Exhibition held in Amsterdam in 1883. The figures are kept in the Municipal Museum of Ethnology in Leiden (Nos. RMV 370).

The third group of figures was ordered by a civil servant by the name Heycop. They were shown at the Colonial Exposition in Paris in 1893. They are also kept in the Museum of Ethnology in Leiden (Nos. RMV 933).

Of none of these figures the origin is mentioned: there is no name of the maker, the village where he lived and whether he was a dalang or a puppet maker only.

There is s fourth set of figures, six of them were exhibited at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. They are depicted in the Album edited by C.M. Pleyte and printed in 1901 (Plate XXIV). They were made by a dalang in Banjar according to the text. Therefore they might be representative of the Banjar style at the end of the 19th century.

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