Nang Talung folk shadow puppets are handicraft works made of tanned, cut, and perforated leather sheets for use in the folk shadow puppet spectacle. In the past the craftsmen used various kinds of animal hide such as bear’s skin, deer’s skin, tiger’s skin, barking deer’s skin, and mouse deer’s skin. Today cowhide and buffalo’s hide are preferably used instead. The principal production centre is in Khao Chai Son District, Phatthalung Province.
Production process begins from the soaking of the hide in pineapple juice, lime juice, or the juice of any sour fruit (presently vinegar is used) to tan the hide before exposing it to the sun. Figures are traced on the leather to be cut and perforated to make the desired shapes and painted. In the last process, each of the puppets is attached to a mai tap (holder stick) and mai chu mue (arms manipulation sticks).
Besides being used in the shadow puppet spectacle, the Nang Talung puppets are also used as decorative items in the room. The handicraft reflects the unique identity of the southern people and their appreciation of their folk art.