This leather shadow puppet was hand carved in Cambodia by master shadow puppet maker Mr. Nab Rin, and his daughter Sreyroth Ren.
This puppet represents a key symbol in Cambodian culture; an Apsara. Apsara are female celestial beings, also sometimes referred to as Devata. Born out of the creation of the Churning Sea of Milk, these beautiful women are seen as ideal Khmer women. They are prominent figures in bas-relief sculptures in Angkorian temples and they have become a key inspiration for Cambodian classical/ court dance. In one interpretation, they also served a role somewhat like valkyrie, “congregat[ing] near sites associated with death, in order to capture the souls of the dead men” (Jacobsen Lost Goddesses 2008:45).
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