Arts of Asia in Reach
Javanese Wayang Kulit Lesson Plan
1. Lesson Overview

A Lesson for 4th Grade, Students Ages 8-10
(Lesson may be adjusted to accommodate students in grades K-8, ages 4-14)
Designed by Loren Fawcett, Education Assistant, Allen Memorial Art Museum


Asian Arts
Javanese Shadow Puppets (Wayang Kulit)

Indonesian Wayang Kulit have exaggerated upper body proportions and shrunken lower bodies. This distortion makes the figure appear to have correct dimensions in shadow. During the performance, the entire length of the puppet is never totally flush with the screen. The face is pressed against the screen for clarity, and the lower half stands slightly back. Without this special sizing technique, the image would appear bottom heavy.

  1. Students will understand the culture and history behind Javanese Shadow Puppetry.
  2. Students will create their own shadow puppets.
  3. Students will create their own shadow puppetry show.

Academic Content Standards

  1. Visual Arts
    • Standard #1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
    • Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

Ohio State Standards
  1. Visual Arts
    • Benchmark 1C: Identify and describe the different purposes people have for creating works of art
    • Benchmark 2A:Demonstrate knowledge of visual art materials, tools, techniques and processes by using them expressively and skillfully.
    • Benchmark 4A: Apply basic reasoning skills to understand why works of art are made and valued.

  2. Social Studies
    • Obtain information from oral, visual and print sources.
    • Use historical artifacts, photographs, biographies, maps, diaries and folklore to answer questions about daily life in the past.

  3. Language Arts
    • Interpret the main idea and draw conclusions from oral presentations and visual media.


Extremely refined characteristics

One who manipulates the puppets, sings and taps out signals to the orchestra. He also speaks the parts for all characters; he must be able to render the shy sweetness in the voice of a princess, the spiteful whine of a lackey and the righteous but controlled anger of a noble hero.

Rough and crude characteristics

The orchestra that plays during Wayang Kulit performances.

literally means shadow, but refers to all types of puppet theater.

Wayang golek
wooden rod puppets perform the Hindu cycles and also an Islamic Arabian adventure cycle.

Wayang Kulit
leather shadow puppets perform Indonesian versions of the Indian Hindu epics.

Wayang klitik
flat wooden puppets perform the adventures of Javanese Majapahit Empire heros.

Continue to: 2. Lesson Materials