Nang Yai -- Shadow Puppet Show Of Thailand
| Nang Yai is one of Thailand’s dramatic art forms. It combines a number of artistic crafts together in order to entertain the audience.
Nang Yai is believed to have originated in the Sukhothai era. However, there is evidence that it was present even during the Ayutthaya era during the reign of King U-Thong.
Great pains are taken to create each performance of Nang Yai. The theater, puppets, musical ensemble, narrator, voices for each character of the puppet show, puppeteers, story and performance techniques have to organized and thought of.
The puppets used in Nang Yai are usually made from cow hide, and some puppets can be as tall as 2 meters and 1 meter wide. However, before the puppets are made, a detailed traditional design of the characters is initially drawn by a master artist. After this, the design is transferred to the leather and each character is etched. The finished characters are then mounted on sticks and puppeteers bring them to life in a performance which is accompanied with live Thai musical ensemble with singer giving the necessary narration of the story.
Before each performance of Nang Yai, a Wat Khru ceremony is held to pay respect to the teachers of this art form. After this ceremony the prologue is performed with the background music. The music is used to attract the audience and invariably the prologues are about triumph of good over evil. After the prologue, the main performance takes place and this is usually a story from the Hindu epic Ramayana.