Javanese Blencong

Javanese Blencong. (left) is from the Cirebon area of West Java. Wood is a variety of pine. Oil reservoir is copper. Dated as late nineteenth century. These are scarce because a puppeteer works in an area of huge population. Height 620mm.

Javanese Blencong. (right) is a more formal example in carved & painted teakwood. Oil pot copper. First quarter twentieth century. From Solo, Central Java. Both have repairs from constant usage. Height 740mm. Prices on request.


These wayang lamps are an indispensible part of the equipment required by the puppet-master (Dalung) in the performance of the shadow puppet theatre. The lamps are called “Blencong”. They provide the traditional lighting for a wayang kulit (leather shadow puppet) performance, being hung above the dalang’s head behind the kelir (cloth screen) so that its coconut oil-fueled flame projects a flickering light on the puppets. The mobile nature of the light animates the projected shadows, an illusion that modern electric lights fail to impart.


Item SKU: 209
Price: $0.00