Sovanna Phum Art Association is a shadow puppet theatre company based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Sovanna Phum, which means ‘Golden Village’ in Khmer, was founded in 1993 by self-taught puppet maker Mann Kosal and French circus performer Delphine Kasam. The group performs two forms of traditional shadow puppetry, Sbek Thom and Sbek Touch. They also conduct regular training and education programmes on shadow puppet making and performing.
The monkey warrior Hanuman is depicted here walking proudly, with his chest upright and chin held towards the sky. This is the posture of a commander leading his army confidently into the battlefield. Hanuman’s character is revered within the Reamker narrative and in Khmer culture because he poses an ideal image of masculinity, a brave warrior who is charismatic enough to enforce and break the law to his advantage. Hanuman holds a dagger in his right hand and wears a kbang, or rounded headdress, on top of his head. His sampot, a cloth worn on the lower body, is styled so that it is pleated, pulled between the legs, and tucked at the waist.