Discovery >

Shadow Puppetry: See the Maestro at Work

January 7, 2014 by Khiri Travel | Filed Under: , , ,

Shadow Puppetry

Nakhon Si Thammarat is a gem of a city in southern Thailand. Located close to the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, it is a must-visit for those seeking an authentic Thai travel experience. Being a little off the main tourist route has ensured that Nakhon retains a very local atmosphere — even when visiting its main sights such as the amazing Wat Phra Mahatat.

But perhaps the best sight in Nakhon Si Thammarat lies hidden in a soi – a small street away from the main road – in a quiet part of town. Nang talung shadow puppets are an art form common to some of the Sumatran-influenced Straits countries in Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. However, nang talung likely originated in India. In Thailand there are records of nang talung since the times of Ayutthaya, where it was a common entertainment at the royal court. But let’s go back to the present. In Nakhon Si Thammarat we can visit a real nang talung maestro.

Mr. Suchart who is now in his 70’s is a repository of this ancient art. In his house you will find a small museum, a workshop and a theatre, where – behind the lit curtain – you can watch a puppet performance. Take some time to browse through his small collection of puppets from different locations, some of them over a hundred years old. Walk into the workshop and, if lucky, one can see the family of Mr. Suchart at work. The puppets are crafted out of cowhides. It’s a time consuming laborious job to produce them.

For a little fee, one of Mr. Suchart’s sons will make a performance on the small stage. The light is lit and the characters pop into action. A joker, a prince and a monkey dominate the stage. The plot is whimsical and there are modern additions such as a plane and a motorcycle. But the story line follows the ancient and timeless adventures of a prince who has fallen in love. It is funny, but more than that, somewhat moving to witness a public art that has been central to the culture of Nakhon Si Thammarat and the region for many hundreds of years.

In a digital age, it is refreshing to enjoy a shadow puppet show at the house of one of the last masters of this art.

Shadow

For more information and bookings, please contact [email protected].

 

Latest post

The Temples of Bagan, Myanmar

After another Myanmar bus experience, this one during the day, complete with extra seating placed in the aisles

Read More

Tradtional Bagan Village Life, Off the Beaten Track

Khiri Travel Myanmar has developed an inspiring half-day tour exploring the remote areas around Bagan. With support from our station manager Mr. Min Min in Bagan, we’re pleased to introduce the Khiri Travel Bagan Safari.

Read More

Wildlife in Laos and the Unusual Role of Elephants

In Laos, a low population density and rugged terrain has contributed to relatively large areas of forest with diverse flora and fauna remaining untouched. The countryside contains habitat to over one hundred species of large mammals like tigers, Asian elephants and gaurs (wild cattle). Lao people regard the Asian elephant as a symbol of the power and potential of the forest. You can see plenty of images of them in temples and houses.

Read More

Video: Phuket Old Town Discovery

There’s more to Phuket besides the island’s many kilometers of tropical beaches and evening entertainment at cities like Patong. Main place to be in the old days was Phuket Town.

Read More

Subscribe to our newsletter

Our B2B newsletters are for industry professionals

[contact-form-7 id="1555" title="Newsletter"]

*We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time.