Old shadow play puppets returned to Thailand

Shadow play skins, The Nation 20120327

An American couple have donated a set of shadow play puppet skins to Thailand, thought to be at least 100 years old.

Shadow play skins, The Nation 20120327
Shadow play skins, The Nation 20120327

Shadow play treasures return to Thailand
The Nation, 27 March 2012

An American couple has given dozens of centuries-old framed and delicately carved cow skins for grand shadow plays to the Thai government so the items can be returned to their origins.

“They have historical value,” Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome said yesterday.

Sukomol said Dr Sarah M Bekker and her husband Konrad Bekker bought the items from a German woman who said a Thai grand shadow play performer sold them to her in 1910.

The cow skins feature the characters and scenes of Thai grand shadow plays, mostly about the Epic of Ramakien [Thai version of Ramayana]. They are from the early Rattanakosin Period.

The Bekkers contacted the Thai government through the Thai embassy in Washington DC, in 2009. The embassy consulted Thailand’s Fine Arts Department before deciding to accept the key tools for shadow plays.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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