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 character depicted is Anthipalang, a guard to the Demon King Krong Reap. His muscular build and heavily armoured body signify his role as a guard in battle. He wears a kbang, a rounded headdress with no towering ornament. This type of headdress typically denotes a lower-ranking character within the Reamker narrative. This large piece is carved out of a single piece of cowhide, cut and later dyed in a type of coloured solution made of the bark of a Kandaol Tree. The dyed material is then cut into the desired shape and attached to bamboo sticks, enabling the puppet master or dancer to control the character’s choreography with the grip of their hands.