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Hobart, Angela (1979) The craftsmanship, iconography and background of the Balinese shadow play. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is intended to be the first detailed account of the craftsmanship, iconography and background of the Balinese shadow play. The theatre has an important place in Balinese culture both as it is seen to be the original art form and also as it is an essential part of religious rites. The stories upon which the plays are based are taken mainly from the Hindu epics, the Mahabharats and Ramayana. The characters, most of who are derived from the epics, are first introduced. This is a relevant background for understanding the iconography. The thesis then turns to look at the making of the puppets. From this it emerges that complex cultural and ritual regulations underpin the craft. This leads into the largest section of the work which deals with an examination of the principles underlying the depiction of the mythical characters and their significance in terms of both the texts and the oral tradition. It is evident that the puppets are composed of standard parts which carry a more or less defined meaning. There is one important class of figures which stand out by the uniqueness of their depiction, but do not exist in the epics at all. These are the servants who are studied in some detail. It is useful further to stand back and survey a collection of puppets as a whole. This reveals complex forms of connections with social institutions and cultural beliefs. A study of the Iconography is incomplete however without an examination of the performance itself in which the puppets are seen as part of a more elaborate system including other dramatic elements. This provides the means by which cultural ideas are portrayed both through the visual form and the spoken word to the Balinese.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:28

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