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Arts

He-Man joins fight to save Malay shadow puppets

Western and Japanese characters take traditional art form into 21st century and beyond

Rivals Skeletor, left, and He-Man from the "Masters of the Universe" comic-book and animation series are reimagined as wayang kulit traditional Malay shadow puppet characters by the Fusion Wayang Kulit puppeteer group. (Courtesy of Fusion Wayang Kulit)

KUALA LUMPUR -- Bent over strips of water buffalo hide, a team of puppet-makers is laboriously producing lively stick figures. Placed between a spotlight and a translucent white canvas that reflects colors, the puppets bring shadows to theatrical life in the form of wayang kulit, the traditional shadow puppet play of Kelantan, a northeast Malaysian state mainly populated by Malay Muslims.

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