Si Gale Gale Puppet

Si gale Gale Puppet. Originally from batak – Sumatera. private collection. Complete with box and sting. we found from local collector in Bali.



Si Gale Gale Puppet (Complete with Box and Strings )

Si gale gale puppet description:

Age : Circa 1950'

Size : 200 x 50 x 28 cm ( Box )

Si Gale Gale or Si Galegale is a wooden puppet. Used during funeral dance performance of the Batak people in Samosir Island, Northern Sumatra. Sigale Gale is a well known feature to visiting tourists. During the dance, we see the puppet is operated from behind like a marionette using strings, that run through the ornate wooden platform on which it stands. They set up enables its arms and body to be moved and its head to turn.

Traditionally, the performance was carried out of childless person. Batak Toba believe souls become an ancestral spirit and the children of the deceased perform funerary rites. If a person died childless a si gale-gale is created as a substitute. Complicated Sigale Gale could be life sized and featured actuation using wet moss or sponges that could be squeezed to make the dolls appear to cry.

The use of the Si gale gale figure is said to have originated from the legend of a childless woman. Named Nai Manggale. Despite her deathbed, She instructed her husband to have a lifesize image made of herself to be called si gale-gale. She also instructed to have a dirge played before it. Unless this was done, her spirit would not be admitted to the abode of the dead. Which is, would in turn force her to put a curse on her surviving spouse. In other words, To avert this misfortune, the si gale-gale was created. Si gale-gale figures are either male or female, depending on the gender of the deceased.


Among the earliest references to the Si gale-gale is the German missionary Johannes Warneck's description of the sculpture's use in the early twentieth century. When a rich man died without a surviving son, his relatives held a special feast both to mourn his death and to demonstrate his wealth.

(Source : Wikipedia)

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