The wayang golek are made of wood. It is found in Central Java, with performances in the Javanese language, using Javanese language. The wayang golek are three-dimensional puppets. The word golek literally means 'puppets', 'a small statue' or 'searching' (for the meaning of the story). The Javanese wayang golek was introduced in 1506.
The Javanese theatrical form known, as wayang beber is a highly ritualized form of performing arts. It is also a nearly extinct oral tradition. Unlike wayang kulit theatre with its flat leather or wooden puppets, this form of wayang is panted on bark paper scrolls that depict scenes of the adventures of mythical heroes from ancient times. The dalang uses these scroll to illustrate his tales.
Wayang Sadat is a specifically Moslem wayang theatre, created in mid-1985 by Suryadi Warnosuharjo, the Muhamaddiyah Teachers' College in Klaten, Central Java. The word Sadat derives from syahadatain (the two sentences of commitment to Islam). The entire performances of the wayang Sadat are thick with Islamic nuances.
Kancil, in the tradition of animal stories, the clever little mousedeer, are particularly popular. The entertaining kancil tales educate listeners, pass on moral teaching, and even make social criticism through animals that have the gift of speech. Bo Lim created the wayang kancil around 1924 or 1925, reputedly, an Indonesian-born Chinese from Surakarta.
Wayang kancil is no longer presented now, but the stories of kancil have remained popular in children's storybooks.
Wayang krucil or wayang klitik is a flat, two-dimensional figure made of carved and painted wood with leather arms, only the arms are movable. Stories or themes are taken from the Serat Damarwulan depicting the Majapahit legend, the most popular segment being the fall of King Menakjingga and the Mahabharata.
Wayang kulit purwa is a very popular form of shadow-theatre in Java. Although it is very old, traditional and classical, it has been able to keep up with the passage of time, adapting to contemporary ideas and needs. It serves many function: formerly a vehicle for ancestor worship (ruwatan, sadranan, bersih desa), it promotes religious preaching, education, dissemination of information or propaganda, and inculcation of moral standards. It is simultaneously a source of entertainment.
The wayang suluh came into being after Indonesia's proclamation of independence in 1945. The wayang suluh gunungan features the Garuda Pancasila in the cente of the leaf-like figure. Sometimes at the bottom, a map of the Indonesian archipelago may be represented.
The wayang wahyu was created in 1957 by Brother Temotheus Mardji Wignjasoebrata to teach the Roman Chatolic faith through an already-popular medium, the shadow puppet theatre. Taking his stories from the Old and the New Testaments, with 225 characters, which in performance are lined up, to the right and left of the dalang.
Wayang wong literally means human wayang. Wong is the Javanese word for person or human being. Wayang wong is traditionally ascribed to either Sultan Hamengku Buwana I of Yogyakarta and Mangkunegara I of Central Java.
Wayang wong performances are increasingly held in public theatres for the pleasure of tourists and Indonesians alike today. The backdrop usually represents the interior of a palace or the royal garden.
Many performance conventions in wayang wong are borrowed from the wayang kulit. The wayang wong is based on the Javanese versions of two Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.