Wayang Kulit As A Work of Amazing Cultural Stories

wayang kulitWayang in Indonesia, especially in Java was originally a product of Royal Court Culture. It was first used as an instrument to worship the ancestors, as after the Hindu culture entered Indonesia around the 5th century, the value was developed. The world of Indonesia wayang, especially in term of story, got the influence from stories like Ramayana (the story of Rama) and Mahabrata (the Great Bharata). It makes the form of presentation keep on changing with wider range in performance the story theme. In the development, the Indonesian wayang had become a tradition so that it has been able to survive in the various communities.

On November 7th 2003, UNESCO proclaimed Indonesian puppets as “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in Paris. The award was officially handed over on April 21st 2004 in Paris, France.

wayang kulitWayang kulit is performance art that have more than half a millennium. Appearance has its own story, related to the entry of Javanese Islam. One member of the Wali Songo created by adopting Wayang Beber is developed in the heyday of Hindu-Buddhist. The adoption was done because wayang already attached to the Javanese to become the right medium for disseminating propaganda of Islam, while Islam forbids visual art form. As a result, created shadow wayang kulit where people can only see shadows.

There is a family of characters in Javanese wayang called Punakawan; they are sometimes referred to as “clown-servants” because they normally are associated with the story’s hero, and provide humorous and philosophical interludes. Semar is the father of Gareng (oldest son), Petruk, and Bagong (youngest son). These characters did not originate in the Hindu epics, but were added later, possibly to introduce mystical aspects of Islam into the Hindu-Javanese stories. They provide something akin to a political cabaret, dealing with gossip and contemporary affairs. (Source : Wikipedia)

The puppets figures themselves vary from place to place. In Central Java the city of Surakarta (Solo) is most famous and is the most commonly imitated style of puppets. Regional styles of shadow puppets can also be found in West Java, Banyumas, Cirebon, Semarang, and East Java. Bali produces more compact and naturalistic figures, and Lombok has figures representing real people. Often modern-world objects as bicycles, automobiles, airplanes and ships will be added for comic effect, but for the most part the traditional puppet designs have changed little in the last 300 years.

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