Wayang—a classical form of Indonesian puppet theater—has been an important part of the local culture for centuries, with the puppeteers regarded as repositories of moral and aesthetic values. Hindu narratives featured prominently in early wayang. Later, Islamic restrictions against representations of God or gods led to the development of wayang kulit, a style of wayang in which only the shadows of the puppet figures, projected onto a screen, are seen by the audience. What does kulit mean?
Back in the day
Mumtaz was one of the three wives of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, his constant companion and trusted confidant—and his favorite. She died during the birth of their fourteenth child, while accompanying him on a military campaign. According to legend, her dying wish was for there to be built a monument to their love. The bereaved emperor soon began to plan a magnificent mausoleum for his late wife, a structure that would take more than 20 years to complete and become what world-famous building?
Born on a day like today
Escher was a Dutch graphic artist now famed for prints in which he used realistic detail to achieve bizarre optical illusions, such as staircases that appear to lead both up and down from the same level. He created visual riddles, playing with the pictorially logical and the visually impossible. Of interest to mathematicians, cognitive psychologists, and the general public, his works have been widely reproduced. In which of his etchings was Escher said to have achieved mathematical perfection?