Dancer with a Group of Wandering Puppeters in Batavia


This dancer was part of a troupe of wandering entertainers who traveled through Java in the late 19th century, performing dances and puppet shows. Indonesian shadow puppetry, known as wayang kulit, is one of the world’s oldest storytelling traditions. Traditional Javanese dance began as a court ritual, but over time the dances incorporated many of the stories and traditions performed in the puppet theater. The photograph was taken by the studio of Woodbury & Page, which was established in 1857 by the British photographers Walter Bentley Woodbury and James Page. The photograph is from the collections of the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies in Leiden.

Last updated: September 25, 2015