The distinct tradition of Indian shadow puppetry has been the subject of much interest among scholars, focusing mainly on its origin, the mutual exchange between different regions across Asia, and the relationship between theater performance and popular culture. This study discusses the similarities of shadow puppets with temple mural painting and loose-leaf paintings, and shows how puppets may have shifted technically from narrative paintings on loose-leaf folios toward motion pictures, in order to create a more interactive link between the audience and the storyteller.
The first part of this paper explores the archetypal and psychological meanings of shadow in Indian culture and religion, as well as its relationship with the origins of painting. The main issues include archetypal references to the shadow of Hindu gods described in Vedic, epic, and Purāņic sources, the use of prototypes to transmit knowledge to humankind, and the analysis of shadow puppets as moving pictures. Secondly, the paper analyzes the materiality of puppets and their consistency with Indian aesthetics and art criticism in the form of theoretical principles found in classical texts and art treatises such as the Nāțyaśāstra, the Viṣṇudhārmottāra, and the Śilpaśāstra.
Male and female Uca tangeri (the only fiddler crab species to inhabit Europe) construct mudballs from mud excavated from within their burrows. Individual males placed similar patterns of mudballs each low tide, suggesting that there is some degree of stereotypy. When mudballs were experimentally moved further from the burrow or closer to it, males only repositioned those that were moved closer, placing them further away again. However, males did not replace mudballs that had been experimentally destroyed at the end of the mudballing phase when they had started to court females. In binary presentation tests, females showed no significant differences in response to mudballs made from different types of mud, or different numbers of mudballs. These results are consistent with earlier findings that male mudballs function as territory boundaries. However, we provide evidence that male mudballs have no function in female attraction, contrasting with previous studies.