W130xH220mm, Cambodia

This is a shadow puppet used for the show Reamker which was based on the Sanskrit’s Ramayana epic.  The Reamker is a popular legend for the Khmer people, loved by the common people and the kings a like.  The story is carved into the walls in Angkor Wat and in Banteay Srei  and over the Khmer New Year (13-16 April) and the King’s birthday (13-15 May) when the shadow puppet show will be performed.

 The story of Reamker is about the balance of good and evil in the world; Prince Rama was sent into exile by one of the queen mother who has her eye on the throne for her son, Rama was joined by his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana.  In the forest the female rakshasa Surphanakha tried to seduce the 2 brothers, Lakshmana being annoyed by Surphanakha cut off her ear and nose, this angered the demon who went to ask her brother Ravana to help her revenge.  Ravana (the Lord of island Lanka) was attracted by the beauty of Sita kidnapped her.  Rama and Lakshmana striked a deal with the monkey king Sugriva, they helped Sugriva to regain his kingdom from his brother Vali while Sugriva send the monkey warriors lead by Hanuman to help with their search of Sita.  Hanuman start building a stone bridge to cross to Lanka but found out that mermaids were secretly taking away the stones, he decide to capture the mermaid princess Neang Machha but instead they fell madly in love with each other. The bridge was completed, Rama and Ravana started a battle, wiht Hanuman’s help Rama won, rescued Sita and got the throne.

@ the western gopura of Banteay Srei

@ outer gallery of Angkor Wat