Sabtu, 29 Desember 2007

Kutai Dance (East Borneo)

Kenyah Music

The Kutai dance art is divided into 2 types: Folk Dance Art and Classical Dance Art.

Folk Dance Art
It is an artistic creation which emerges from the public community. This folk dance movement combines the elements of dances in the tribe dance dwelling in coastal area. The Folk Dance Art includes:

Jepen Dance
Jepen is Kutai folk art which is mostly influenced by Malayan and Islamic culture. This art is very popular around people dwelling in riverbank area of Mahakam or in coastal area.

This gathering dance is usually performed in pairs; however, it can be played in single. Jepen dance is accompanied by song or special music of Kutai called Tingkilan. The musical instruments consist of gambus (a kind of six-strings guitar) and ketipung (a kind of small drum).
Because of the popularity of this art, almost every sub district has its own Jepen group and also Tingkilan with its own unique style. Therefore, this dance develops rapidly which is proved by the emergence of new creations such as Jepen Tungku dance, Jepen Gelombang Dance, Jepen 29 Dance, Jepen Sidabil dance and Jepen Tali Dance.

Classical Dance
It is a kind of dance which grew and developed around Kraton Kutai Kartanegara in the past. The Folk Dance Art includes:

Sacrificing Dance In the past, this dance is performed by royal women of Kutai Kartanegara, however, nowadays it can be performed by any women. The dance which is accompanied by gamelan music is specially dedicated to welcome guests in an official ceremony. The dancers is not limited, the more dancers is better.

Ganjur Dance
Ganjur Dance is royal man dance which is performed in pair using the equipment called Ganjur (a club made of cloth).

The dance is accompanied by gamelan music and is performed at royal coronation, marriage, guest welcoming, birthday and circumcision of the royal family.

This dance is mostly influenced by elements of Javanese dance (Yogya and Solo).

Kanjar Dance
This dance is rather similar with Ganjur Dance, only it is performed by man and women with rather agile movement. The dance composition is rather free and does not follow certain patter that it could be compared to gathering dance. In its performance, Kanjar Dance usually initiated by Sacrificing Dance because this dance is also performed to honor the guests and is also used as gathering dance.

Kutai Mask Dance
Historically, this dance has relationship with Singosari and Kediri Dance, however, the movement and gamelan music accompanying the dance is rather different. While, the story in the dance and also the costume is not too different.

Kutai Mask Dance is divided into some types such as:
01. Penembe
02. Kemindhu
03. Patih
04. Temenggung
05. Kelana
06. Wirun
07. Gunung Sari
08. Panji
09. Rangga
10. Togoq
11. Bota
12. Tembam

Kutai Mask Dance is only performed at royal environment, for entertaining the royal family. The dance is usually performed at king coronation, marriage, birthday and royal guest welcoming.

Dewa Memanah Dance
The dance is performed by head of Ponggawa using a bow and five-headed arrow. The Ponggawa circling the ceremonial site while winding the bow up and down, and uttering the mantra in a hope that gods will dispel evil spirit and bless the peace, fertility, and prosperity for the people.

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Dance of Dayak (Borneo)

Gantar Dance This dance depicts a movement of farmer planting rice. The stick illustrates the beater while the bamboo and grains inside it illustrates rice seed and the container.
This dance is quite famous and is frequently performed in welcoming guests or at other occasions. This dance is not only known by Dayak Tanjung Tribe but also Dayak Benuaq Tribe. There are three versions of this dance: Gantar Raytn, Gantar Busai and Gantar Sekan/Gantar Kusak.

Kancet Papatai Dance / War Dance This dance tells about a Dayak Hero, Kenyah who fights against his enemy. The movement in this dance is very energetic, agile, and full of spirit and sometimes followed by dancers' shouting.
In this dance, the dancers wear traditional clothing of Dayak Kenyah tribe, along with war equipments such as mandau (Dayak sword), shield and armor. The dance is accompanied by Sak Paku song and it only uses Sampe instrument.

Kancet Ledo Dance / Gong Dance When Kancet Papatay depicts masculinity and strength of Dayak Kenyah men, the Kancet Ledo otherwise depicts the beauty of a woman as a rice plant
blown by the wind.
The dance is performed by a women wearing traditional clothing of Dayak Kenyah Tribe and her b
oth hands holding the feather of Enggang bird. Usually this dance is performed on top of a gong; therefore, it is also called Gong Dance.

Kancet Lasan Dance It depicts the life of Enggang bird, a noble bird as the symbol of glory and heroism. This dance is a single performance dance of Dayak Kenyah woman of which the movement and position is similar to Kancet Ledo Dance, but the dancer does not use gong and Enggang feathers and she mostly use lowering and squatting position with the knees touching the ground. This dance emphasizes the movements of Enggang bird while flying and perching on a tree branch.

Leleng Dance The Dance tells about a girl named Utan Along which would be forcefully married by her parent to a boy of whom she does not like. Utan Along finally ran away to the jungle. This dance of Dayak Kenyah
Tribe is performed with Leleng songs.

Hudoq Dance The dance is performed by wearing a wooden mask resembling a beast and also two pieces of banana leaves or coconut leaves which wrap the dancer?s body. This dance has close relation with ritual ceremony from the tribes of Dayak Bahau and Modang. The purpose of Hudoq dance is to obtain strength in overcoming the disturbance of the pests and in a hope of land fertility to produce abundant harvest.

Hudoq Kita? Dance This dance of Dayak Kenyah is basically the same with Hudoq Dance of Dayak Bahau and Modang, as three of them are held for ceremony at the planting session or to express the gratitude to the gods that give good and abundant harvest. The prominent difference between Hudoq Kita' Dance and Hudoq Dance is on the costume, mask, the movement and the music companion. The costume wore by Hudoq Kita? Dances consists of long sleeve shirt and s
arong, while the mask resembles human face decorated with special carving of Dayak Kenyah. There are two kinds of masks in Hudoq Kita? Dance, one is made of timber and the other is only a veil made of beads with Dayak Kenyah ornaments.

Serumpai Dance This Dayak Benuaq dance is performed to expel diseases epidemic and to cure people bitten by mad dog. It is called Serumpai because the dance is accompanied by Serumpai musical instrument (a kind of bamboo flute).

Belian Bawo Dance Belian Bawo ceremony is aimed to expel diseases, cure illness, pay nazar (vow) and so forth. After became a dance, it is frequently performed on guest welcoming and other art exhibition. It is a dance of Dayak Benuaq Tribe.

Kuyang Dance It is a Belian dance from Daya Benuaq tribe which is performed to dispel ghost dwelling in big and high tree so that they do not disturb human or person who chop the tree.

Pecuk Kina Dance This dance depicts the migration of Dayak Kenyah Tribe from Apo Kayan area (Kab. Bulungan) to the Long Segar area (Kab. Kutai Barat) which took years.

Datun Dance This dance is a communal dance of the Dayak Kenyah girl which has no definite number of dancers; it may consist 10 up to 20 girls. Based on history, this communal dance was created by a chief of Dayak Kenyah tribe in Apo Kayan named Nyik Selung as the expression of gratitude over the grandchildren birth. Then, this dance spread to entire Dayak Kenyah tribes.

Ngerangkau Dance
Ngerangkau Dance is the custom dance related to death in Dayak Tunjung and Benuaq Tribe. This dance uses rice beater equipment which is beaten regularly in a parallel position to produce certain rhythms.

Baraga' Bagantar Dance
In the beginning, Baraga? Bagantar is the ceremony to treat a baby by using the aid of Nayun Gantar. Nowadays, the ceremony is already recomposed into a dance by Dayak Benuaq tribe.

Direction by Google Map

Rabu, 26 Desember 2007

Kejawen, a Javanese traditional spiritual teaching

The ancient people of Java since 3000 years BC had known the wet-rice cultivation. This system of agriculture requires a smooth cooperation between villagers, is still being practiced to this day. The villagers must have a very high consciousness to organize such a complicated arrangement to be a smooth cooperation, benefited all parties involved. Besides the wet-rice cultivation, they have known also among other fishery, astronomy, cloth weaving, batik, gamelan & wayang. Before the arrival of Hinduism and any other world religions, the Javanese had already a culture & belief(s) of their own.
In some Javanese traditional ceremonies, ancient rituals remain in place to this day. It is a proof that Javanese people are smart in preserving their precious identity. Besides the existence of widely recognized religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam & Christianity, a local belief popularly known as Kejawen or Kebatinan does continue to exist.
Kejawen from the word Jawa (Java) : Javanism, is a Javanese spiritual knowledge in search of good & correct way of life, so the persons practicing the teaching correctly & wholeheartedly should find the spiritual way to true life (urip sejati => urip = life, sejati = true) achieving the harmonious relation between servant & God, JUMBUHING KAWULO GUSTI (jumbuh = a good, harmonious relation, kawulo = servant, gusti = Lord, God).This is Kasunyatan - The Reality, Kebatinan from the word Batin = inner, spiritual. Kebatinan = spiritualism, generally understood as the spiritual teaching of belief in one God.Some are of the opinion that Kejawen has a broader meaning than Kebatinan, except kebatinan it consists, also of way of thinking, art, tradition, culture etc.The existence of Kejawen, in no way can be separated from the Javanese way of life & thinking, the nature & the tradition.
A Javanese concept prevails to this day is Mamayu Hayuning Bawono - to preserve the beauty of the world in a broader sense means to preserve the universe for the welfare of its inhabitants.By nature, a Javanese is an environmentalist, a preserver of nature as clearly shown in their natural oriented tradition & rituals.Living in harmony is of prime important - the harmonious relation among people in the society: between human beings and the universe & harmonious relation between servant & God.
Since their tender ages, the Javanese have been educated by their parents, families, society, teachers etc, the lessons of belief in God, moral behavior & etiquettes etc.The elder Javanese always say that all religions are good. So far there is no conflict in Java due to religious differences.Up to present date, the four royal palaces in Yogyakarta & Surakarta (Kasultanan under King/Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, Pakualaman under Viceroy/Adipati Pakualam IX, Kasunanan under King/Sunan Paku Buwono XII, Mangkunagaran under Viceroy/Adipati Mangkunagara IX) are the centers of Javanese court culture, where royal ceremonies from the old days are still performed.The people culture such as "The Village Cleansing" ceremonies dated back from ancient period take place almost intactly.

Dolalak Dance

Traditional dance: Dolalak is the product of culture which appeared and grow in Purworejo regency Central Java. In the beginning of its appearance, Dolalak in the colonialism of Dutch in Indonesia, about 1915. This art is the result of acculturation between Dutch culture and Indonesian or west and east.
It can be seen from the costumes and accessories, are similar with the Dutch army. The costume which are worn by the Dolalak dancers like dress with long sleeves with insignias shoulders, shorts, hat and sock and completed with sunglasses and sampur.
Dolalak dance is very attractive with a lot of movements which are unique and specific like kirig, ngetol, lilingan e.t.c. and also movement like “waltz dance” and make line like Dutch troops. Beside that, we also insert magic by inviting indang a spirit who come to one of dancer soul. The coming of the spirit to the dancer soul is called trance or mendem.
The naming of Dolalak derives from musical notation do la la. In the beginning this dance was performed by men, but in the development, now the dance is performed by female, ussualy performed in one whole night. And the accompanying music is kendang, terbang, jidhur (Javanese gamelan orchestra) and the vocal.

Direction by Google Map

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Jumat, 14 Desember 2007

Another Aceh Traditional Dance

The Seudati Dance is a very popular dance from North Sumatra, or Aceh. It was formerly a court-dance which took the form of a patriots dance, describing the prowess of the Aceh patriots who are about to proceed to the battle-field Now the dance is the property of all the people, and used as an impetus for their patriotism.
There are two Seudati dances, one danced by men only, called Seudati Agam, and the other, danced by women only, called Sudati

Each Seudati Dance is danced by ten men or ten women. When it is danced by men (Seudati Agam) the ten dancers are divided according to their function in the dance; one Aneuk Seudati, or the child of Seudati, one Adoee or younger brother, and eight Dalam or Aduen or elder brothers. One of the eight Dalam is called Sheik or leader, and there is an Apet Sheik or deputy leader. The six others are called Rakan or Kawan, meaning friends.

The performance of the Seudati dance is sometimes very long; there is even one which begins at 8 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m. The stage is an open field. The dance can be very exciting when there is a competition between two neighbouring villages, each with its own Seudati team.

The patriotic nature of the Seudati Dance is seen chiefly from, the costume of the Seudati Agam, consisting of a long white right shirt, long white or black trousers, a sarong (a cloth wrapped round the under part of the body worn above the knees), selendang (scarf) fastened round the waist, rencong (short sword) and a head cloth. The dance is very gay and vigorous, varied by frequent rhythmical clapping on the breast. As they dance the dancers sing in turn stories showing the greatness of Aceh in the past.


The Randai Dance is from. West Sumatra and is danced by several men wearing a costume called the galembong. The galembong consists of a wide black jacket called teluk belanga, long trousers, and a head cloth. The accompanying musical instruments consist of a talempong (like the Javanese bonang with the difference that it consists of only five parts); rebana (tambourine); ralung (a kind of flute); and kendang (drum).

As they dance, the dancers sing about the greatness of Minangkabau in the past. A Randai dance performance often lasts six hours.


Indang is the name of the rebana or little tambourine used as a musical instrument in this dance. The dancers are men, all of whom wear galembong costumes. The indang,s used as musical instruments to accompany this dance are of the same number as the dancers, because each dancer carries an indang with him. The number of the dancers is not fixed, sometimes seven, sometimes nine, but usually an uneven number. They - dance in a sitting -position and do not change places. While they dance they tell stories whose purpose is to convert people to Islam.


The Selendang Dance is a war-dance from West Sumatra. The dancers consist of several men, all wearing galembong costumes.

Selasa, 11 Desember 2007

Lengger Dance From Banyumas, Central Java

While the dancers above are performing something most Javanese themselves are clueless about; the Banyumas region's Like the Solonese, it is an interactive communal dance, during which amateurs (males only) could dance with the professional dancers for a little money. Banyumas is in Central Java, but its dialect, lexicon, dances and music are very different from the Solonese and Yogyanese. They're livelier, faster in rhythm, and are, by the snob mainstream Javanese, considered as 'vulgar'. The difference in visual terms as far as it is what shows in the pic above are apparent; the headgear is nothing like the Solonese and Yogyanese dancer's; the way the scarf is worn around the neck is not the mainstream way, either; and at the Banyumas dancers' waists you could see dark sunglasses -- those, too, are never to be parts of a Solonese or Yogyanese dancing prop.

Dancers with fans, from Purwokerto, Central Java. The dance is called 'trètèk', a sort of a communal 'welcome dance'. Ask any Javanese if he or she has ever heard of this dance. They'd say no. And the dress, too, is unfamiliar to most of us; it looks closer to some Sumateranese dance costumes.

Mobile dancers of Cilacap, a coastal town of Central Java. They've been everywhere in this island scraping a living (that's eome cash on the tray held by the female dancer at the left), without getting noticed by other Javanese; but one real look at the dresses, the music, the songs and how they speak, a Yogyanese or Solonese would recognize that this isn't something he or she is familiar with.

Minggu, 09 Desember 2007

Aceh Culture

Acheh has a lot of potential cultures which are basically colored by Islamic religion. There are three major ethnic groups in Acheh; Achehnese, Gayo and Alas. The Achehnese are most numerous and inhabit the coastal areas of the region. However, in west and south Acheh, they intermingled with west Sumatra, which reflected in language, design and customs. The Gayo and Alas tribes are numerically minor groups who inhabited the highland of Acheh. The Gayo live in central Acheh while the Alas in southeast Acheh. Acheh is often called "Serambi Mekkah" (The Verandah of Mecca). No wonder that the dominant religion in Acheh is Islam (Moslem). Of Acheh's about 4 million inhabitants, are MoslemProtestants (1.32 %), Roman Catholic (0.16%), Hindu (0.02 %) and Buddhist (0.37 %). Even though the Achehnese are very strong believers and often called fanatics by other Indonesian. They are very open minded and understanding towards other people's religious needs. Churches and temples are always found in towns of Acheh. In 1990 there were a total of 2359 Mosques, 6408 Meunasah (Moslem house of worship), 2955 Mushallas (simple place of worship), 91 church/school and 6 Bhuddish Temples. Islam literally means peace, surrender, obedience and submission. Islam (Moslem) stands for complete submisson and obedience to the only God, Allah. Islam (Moslem) claims the right to govern and control every aspect of lives of its believers. It recoqnizes man's material, intellectual and emotional urges and the need to fulfill them. Yet, in achieving these goals, Allah can not be forgotten. With that mind, Moslem perform five obligations, The so called Five Pillar of Faith, i.e. confession of faith (Syahadat), prayers five times a day (Shalat), fasting in month of Ramadhan (Puasa), almsgiving (Zakat) and pilgrimage to Mecca if capable (Haji). At the age of seven, children start to learn the prayers and tenets of Islam and to recite from the Koran (Al Qur'an). Boys and girls start to have religious duties and obligations at the onset of puberty. Knowledge and understanding of Islam make an individual into moral being capable to distinguish right from wrong. The religious leaders who teach the children ( Teungku/Tgk) make children into rational beings. Communion with Allah can only be achieved through prayers five times a day. The title "Teungku (Tgk)" is given to prominent religious leader. Title "Tuanku" or "Sayed" and " Teuku (T)" is used descendants of important land owning families during the sultanate, and title "Cut Nyak" or "Po Cut" and "Cut",are used for female of these fammilies. The following descriptions about culture including architecture,crafts, adat ceremonies, etc. tend to apply to the coastal Achehnese group.Traditional HouseAchehnese villages usually lie in the middle of cultivated areas where the houses are hidden among the trees for shade and coolness. An older traditional house is built without using any nails. The house held together with cord or pegswhich are made too small for its hole and is kept in place by large wedges. An Achehnese house stand on pillars which is well designed for the climate. It is composed of five divisions (rueung). 16, 20 or 24 sturdy pillars, usually 6-8 feet in height, rise perpendicularly up from the floor, providing space for air circulation and for people to move about comfortably.

Traditional Dress

Standard traditional Achehnese clothing for men includes full cut black trousers, a black top with long-narrow sleeves with one botton at the neck. A silk cloth (kain songket) is bounded around the waist, and a rencong is tucked into the belt. On the head is a kupiah meukeutob topped with a gold star shaped ornament (tampok kupiah). It is bound with a woven square of silk.

bajuac2.jpg (56667 Byte)The women wear gold embroidered, black trousers which are narrow at the ankle and very broad at the waist. The blouse is also embroidered, and is yellow, green or red in colour. The sarong is a women silk fabricdecorated with gold or silver thread (kain songket). This is held in place a large gold belt. On the head is adorned with an array of golden flowers with called Bungong Ok and Patam Dho or Kulah Kama. Necklaces cascade from the neck to the waist. The arms are adorned with many bracelets, and the fingers are graced with rings, too.

Achehnese Blade

rencong.jpg (51041 Byte)Rincong is a special Achehnese dagger which had been so important during the Achehnese war. Now the dagger is popular as a completion of the traditional attire, and nice souvenir from Acheh, too. Rincong blades are mode of metal, while the hilts and scabbard are from ivory, wood (kayu kemuning), or buffalo hom. Anatomishable steel is used for blades that will be fitted with buffalo hom hilts and scabbards. While a brass alloy is used for those with scented wood orivory hilts and scabbards. Hom, wood, and ivory are not the only materials used for roncong hilts and scabbards, silver and gold may also be used. The shape of rincong is from the invocation of 'Bismillahirrahmanirrahim' (in the name of Allah, the merciful and compassionate). The component parts of rincing is likened to individual letters of the Arabic script of phrase 'Bismillah' as follows :

- The hilt of the rincong is in the shape of 'ba'
- The decorationat the base of the hilt is 'sin'
- The shape of the blade is 'mim'
- The shape of the metal parts at the top of the blade is 'lam'
- The base of scabbard takes the shape of 'ha'
- Together ba, sin, mim, lam, and ha make up the word 'Bismillah'


Siwah is another important Achehnese blade which is generally known as the ceremonial dagger and usually used by the Sultan and men of the subtantial wealth. It differs from the rincong in appearance in that it has a more bulbous hilt. The siwah scabbard is usually more highly ornamented than a rincong scabbard. The decoration on these fine-old weapons befits their royal heritage. Precious jewels, ivory and intricate gold filigree work adorn at the upper end of the scabbard where the blade enters the sheath. Some siwahs have straighter blades than rincong, however, both blades are sharpened on one side only, and end in a sharp point.


The Peudeung is a kind of a long sword and was very populer during the Achehnese wars. In Acheh, every peudeung has aname based on the shape of its hilt, for example 'hilt like the tail of a cat', (gagang ekor kucing) 'hilt like the mouth of crocodile' (gagang mulut buaya) 'hilt like the horn of a deer', (gagang tanduk rusa) 'hilt like the legs of a horse', (gagang kaki kuda) and 'hilt like the tail of a duck' (gagang ekor bebek). The hilt of a peudeung is usually decorated with a 'tampok', a smaller version of the star shaped ornament worn on top of the traditional, royal Achehnese hat. The history of peudeung may trace back to 17 century. There is an Achehnese sketch dated in the century, an Achehnese man, show him sporting a strap over his shoulder through which two long peudeung protrude.

- Dance and Songs

As a verandah of Mecca, songs and dances which come from Acheh generally reflect Islamic prayer art. In old times dances were either performed at the courts for sultans and their guest or in the villages as entertainment after hard work in the fields. Today dances are mostly performed at special government functions, but in many areas local dancing traditions and groups carry on the heritage. Each region of Acheh has own version of dances or its own indigenous ones. The costumes used are basically long sleeved tops and sarongs wrapped around the waist and colors are often brilliant. Women usually wear head pieces, but the use of jewelry depends on the aspect of life that is depicted by the dance. The Achehnese dance all have certain characteristics in common. Islamic values are often spread in Acheh through the dances. The dances deal with daily social activities. All Achehnese dances are performed by a group and are dynamic with stepping feet, beating of chests, hips and shoulder

Achehnese music performed on tradition string, wind and percussion instruments. Most of them seem to have Chinese origin, but at least the "arbab" is indigenous. The "arbab" is a three string zither made of wood from the jack fruit tree. The strings are made of very strong bambo, rattan, or from horse tail horse. One example of wind instrument is the "seurunee kalee ", which is a single reed wood-wind with one hole in the back and seven in the front. Other include various kinds of bamboo fluetes, such as "buloh peurindu", "bansi" and "suling". Gong are made of brass or dried goat skin and are sounded with padded wooden hammers. They come in three sizes and called "gong" , "canang", and "mong-mong". The "Rapaii Pasai" is tambourine made of goat skin. The "Rapai Pasai", for example, was introduced by the Samudra Pasai Kingdom as an instrument to call citizen to gather. The "Tak Tok" is made of bamboo and is very simmilar to Javanese "angklung". The players of traditional instruments are usually men, while women sing and play tambourines. A traditional band consists of leader, four or five players and one or two boy sopranos.

In Acheh there are 50 types of dance, 20 kinds of music, 10 form of literature and 9 tradition arts, some of which are described below. Some of the popular dances are:

Ranub Lampuan
"Ranub" is Achehnese for betel leaf. It is traditionally used for chewing after meals and is served as a way of showing respect to guest. "Serving betel leaf to the guest" as a dance has become a popular way of welcoming prominent guest to Acheh and also at opening ceremonies . Nine women perform to the music from the "seurunee kalee" instrument. At the end of dance , the performers offer "sirih" (betel) to the guests who are supposed to receive it. However no one forced to chew it !

Peumulia Jamee
A similar dance to the "Ranub Lampuan" is the "Peumulia Jamee". The difference is that the betel is omitted, and the music make one imagine exotic Arabian night and a song is sung, starting with the Arabic greeting "Assalamualaikum ..."


The "Seudati" dance existed in pre-Islamic times, but became a way to spread Islamic value to the Achehnese people. The name can de derived from the "syahadatain" which means confession of faith by saying " Kalimah Syahadat". "Seudati" is performed by 8 male dancers commanded by a leader ("syeikh") and his assistant ("apet syeikh") . Two narattors read a poem. It is danced in standing position and starts with "saleum" (salam). Only stepping feet, snapping fingers and beating of chests accompany the movements. The Seudati Inong is the same dance, but performed by women


acehtari.jpg (12371 Byte)"Saman" the most popular dance in Acheh and the dance that has become well-known abroad with the name "Thousand hands". It has its origin from the Alas ethnic group and is normally performed to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. and other important occasions. Eight to twenty male performers kneel in a row on the floor and make different kinds of torso movements accompanied by songs, clapping hands, slapping chests, slapping hands on the floor, etc. The songs are praises to Allah or prayers. The dance starts with slow movements and increases its tempo gradually to great speed and finally come to a sudden stop. There are many different regional versions of "Saman"

' Saman Inong '

"Meusekat" is almost the same as "Saman". The only difference is that "Meusekat" is performed by women and originates in west and south Acheh.

The word "pho" derives from "pheubae po". "Peubae" means weeping and "po " is an honorable indicator. The dance was developed from the old dance "bineuh" and originated in the 16th century in south Acheh. It was beginning performed at the death of Sultan or noble man as an expression of loss and sadness. Over the years it started to appear in the "manoe pucok" ceremony ("bathe" and "new bud" respectively) in the days before a wedding when the bride is bathed. During this ceremony the bride is seated in full traditional attire and accompanied by her parents. After a "peusejuk" ( a cooling ceremony) the dancers appear. They led by a "syeh" who produces songs that decribes the life of the bride from birth until marriage. It is about how much the parents have done, how much they have spent on her and how they have taken care of her. Now the moment of departure has come and the bride will leave her parents for a new life with her husband as wife and mother. the newlyweds are also blessed and wished a prosperous future. The songs are often so sad not only the bride and parents, but also the participans, sob togeter.

"Laweut" was developed in early days of Islam in the Pidie area of northern Acheh and means a kind of prayer to the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. " Lawaeut" is also called "Seudati Inong" for its similarity to the "Seudati" dance and that it is performed by women, eigh of them with a "syech" ( leader). Normally it is performed in a standing position, accompanied by song and sound of snapping fingers, stepping feet, beating thighs and clapping hands from dancers

Tarek Pukat
The "Tarek pukat" dance depicts the life of the fishermen in the coastal area. This includes making nets, rowing boats, catching fish and pulling the net which actually is meaning of "Tarek Pukat". The dance is cheerful, dynamic and accompanied by songs or instruments. Each dancer has a rope and during the dance these ropes are woven into net.

This dance was normally only used for celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. , but due to its popularity has begun to appear also on other occasions. There are 20 performer, 10 women and 10 men, accompanied by special tambourines. The dance is often followed by prayers to the Prophet.

Rapai Geleng
"Rapai" is the name of a tambourine used to accompany songs and dances. "Rapa-ii Geleng" is a dance specially developed with this tambourine in mind. The movements are almost the same as in the "Saman" dance, but the 11 to 20 male dancers handle one tambourine each, which gives the dance a very distinct and enjoyable flavor. A song with Islamic teachings accompanies the dance.

rapaiigeleng.jpg (34750 Byte)tari.jpg (74866 Byte) rapaiigeleng1.jpg (134875 Byte)

' Rapa-ii Geleng '

Perang Sabil
"Perang Sabil" is a new creation, composed in order to commemorate the war against foreign invaders. This very dynamic dance, accompanied by music, is performed by 8 women and 8 men. The women carrying rencongs (Achehnese blade) and the men swords ("Peudeung"). The dancers describes how the rencong and Peudeung is used in a real war and the dance itself can be hurtful enough if a dancer loses his concentration.

"Bines" comes the Alas people and is developed from the folk tale "odeni maleleng". This tale tells us about the fate of young woman committing adultery and punished by her own village people with death. The mother of girl walks crying around the body of the girl, layng on leather pad. The dance describes the grief of the mother and a sad song in local language accompanies the movements.

"Didong" is most popular Gayo dance, and dance groups of 20 to 40 men and women compete in different aspects of dance, such as song, movement and voice. It can be performed at any kind of occasion.

Ul-Ula Lembing
A dance strongly influenced by Malay traditions and very popular in east Acheh. It is performed by four couple in traditional Malay attire.

Alee Tunjang
Originally a dance for the start of the harvest that despicts traditional rice milling. Performed by four couple moving beautifully to the music from "serunee kalee" . They carry "lesung" (rice mortar) and "alu" (pestle), 2 to 3 meters long.

The famous "Daboih" is hardly a dance, but merely a show of the performers ability to withstand diffeerent kinds of sharp blades. The actors stab themselves to the special sound of tambourine "rapa-ii". The show can be rather dramatic at times. Even electric chain saws can be used ! Keep away if you have a bad hearts.

Lansir Madam
Lansir Madam is an odd remnant from colonial era and can be described as a "Dutch Square dance"


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West Sumatra (Minangkabau)

Piring Dance is very popular among the West Sumatran people. It involves great skill and exotic and dynamic movements while the dancers hold plates or saucers in their palms! It is also known as the Candle Dance .Randai Traditional Drama and Theatre of Kota Nan Ampat is a Minangkabau Traditional art centre and the drama there has an educational message.The Rantak dance is created by Gusmiati Said and is dominated by Pencak Silat, the traditional martial art of West Sumatra, with movements such as taping, hand movements, waving and jumping. The composition takes great consideration of space, time and energy (power) thus resulting in an entity presented as an art of expression.Tiupan Saluang is a traditional art expressing the feeling followed by the blowing flute, while the Tabuik Festival of Pariaman regency is a traditional cultural ceremony held on 1st - 12th Muharram. Tabuik comes from Bengkulu to respect Huse in (The grandson of Prophet Muhammad) who died in the war against King Yazid.Tari Payung or the umbrella dance is anothervery well known dance among the young people from the land of Minangkabau. Danced to the tune of "Babendi-bendi" (a song about a horse drawn carriage which is original to that area), this dance portrays the happy bantering between newly married couples on their honeymoon. The umbrella becomes a symbol that the husband should always protect his wife from the rain and heat of life.

Indang Dance

Pasembahan Dance

Tari Piring Kubu Durian

Saluang Ratok sianok (flute form sianok valley)

Sabtu, 08 Desember 2007

Traditional Indonesian Music

Gamelan orchestra Gamelan music is the most popular and important kind in Indonesia. Gamelan orchestras accompany all dances and dramas. Gamel means 'to hammer', and most of the instruments of a gamelan orchestra are struck with wooden mallets, padded sticks or hammers.The conductor of a gamelan orchestra is a drummer who is part of the orchestra.
Instruments of a gamelan orchestra A complete orchestra could have about 40 or more different instruments. There would be instruments that are struck to produce sound, such as kettledrums, xylophones, and gongs of various sizes. There would be a wind instrument, a bamboo flute called a suling, and string instruments such as a zither or lute. There would be instruments whose sounds are produced by vibration, such as drums, bells, cymbals and gongs.
There are also two sets of instruments that are tonal: the slendro tuned to five tones and the pelog, tuned to seven tones. The slendro is used to suggest festivity or cheerfulness, and is believed to have developed in Java in the eighth century. The pelog is used to express sadness, and is also very ancient in its origins. These two cannot be played together, but are used according to the mood of the piece being played.
Gamelan music Gamelan music is complicated. It is an ancient form of music and has been handed down for many generations, never written down, but learned by being played. Gamelan is an essential part of Indonesian life. It is slightly different from island to island.
Angklung music Another popular form of orchestral music is the angklung, which is played on instruments made entirely of bamboo of different lengths. Each instrument is made up of two bamboo tubes, each of a different note. The instruments are shaken to produce sound.

Malang Mask Dance

Malang mask dance is an inherited traditional theatncal art performance. What is interesting about the mask dance is that all the dancers representing some characters wear masks. The characters in Malang theatrical mask dance are 64 and they play the roles of 64 figures in Panji tales. Decoratively, Malang masks are unique. They are different from any other mask art found in Java. There are five typical colurs used to deco rate the masks. The red colour symbolizes courage, the black colour symbolizes determined ambitions, the yellow colour symbolizes wisdom, the white colour indicates purified character and the green colour indicates peace.
The main colour decorating the mask worn by a dancer tells about the character of the story figure played by the dancer. Malang theatrical mask dance is often performed in fragments the story of which are taken from Panji tales which are common traditional folklores that are also found in many parts of Indonesia such as Lombok, Bali, Sumatera and Java islands, and also in Thailand.
The main figure of the tales is Pandji Asmorobangun, and the typical, phylosophical themes of the tales are that the bad are always de feated by the truth, eventhough there are a lot of sacrifices and miseries during the struggling process. In the story it is narrated that Panji Asmorobangun had to wander to get his spouse. In his life, it is told that there was a king who wanted to marry Dewi Ragil Kuning, the lover of Raden Gunung Sari from Jenggolo Manik.To know the real truth, one should undergo a process i.e. a war. The final result of the war will prove that the truth can always overcome, and can defeat the bad things.
To see the theatrical mask dance you have to go to Malang, which is about 90 kilometers to the south of the capital of the East Java Province, i.e. Surabaya. The center of Malang mask dance is Kedung Monggo village, Karang Pandan, Pakisaji district, Malang regency. It is about 15 kilometers to the south of Malang town.
It is easy to get there by village vehicles from the inter-city bus terminal in Gadang, Malang. Every Thursday, Asmorobangun dance is performed in padepokan. If you want to see the theatrical mask dance on the other days, you may ask the head of the art workshop to have a fragment of Panji Asmorobangun tales performed. The performance lasts only 30 minutes. You can also contact Mr. Karimun, the dalang or the director of the mask dance to have the dance performed. Mr. Karimun has devoted himself for 40 years in maintaining and developing the mask dance.

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Gandrung dance is a specific dance from Banyuwangi, and a classical dance as the remnant of the old Blambangan Kingdom. During the dance performance, audience are invited to dance together and lucky audience are those who get the scarf given by Gandrung dancers. Gandrung dance is picturing thanksgiving to Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice for rich harvest.


Ponorogo is most well known for the reog mask dance, which is said to have been created by one of the kings of Kediri in the 12th century. The performance re-enacts a legendary battle between Pujangga Anom, a minister from the court of Ponorogo, and Singa Barong, guardian spirit of the forest of Lodoyo. The former had aroused the anger of Singa Barong when he stole 150 tigers from the forest, apparently to be offered as a dowry payment for a princess of Kediri, whom the king of Ponorogo wished to marry.
A typical reog troupe, then, usually consists of the principal characters; Singa Barong, wearing an enormous tiger head and peacock feather mask, and his adversary Pujangga Anom. They are accompanied by one or more masked clowns/acrobats, as well as a number of hobby horse dancers, who are said to represent the troops of Pujangga Anom.
The people of Ponorogo have a reputation for being tough, both physically and mentally. The qualities of bravery and daring are fully displayed in a reog performance, where the focus of attention is on a trance dancer supporting a giant mask, often weighing more than 40 kg, between his teeth. The mask is a ferocious, snarling tiger's head, covered in real tiger skin and crowned with a gigantic three meter fan of peacock feathers.
The success of a performance, including the ability of the principal dancer to bear the weight of the mask, is said to depend upon the magical power of the leader of the dance troupe. Known as warok, these men are believed to possess special talents, gained through years of training. One of the unique features of the reog dance is that the hobby horse (jaran kepang) dancers are invariably young boys dressed as women. Known as gemblak, they accompany the warok, who are forbidden close association with females, in their travelling performances.
Contest of Reog dance is presented annually by the local government. Ngebel, a natural lake and batik printing of ponorogo are also worthwhile seeing.A tiger's head and a wide-winged peacock are the principal features of the traditional Reog Ponorogo dance. The weight of this pair, called Dhadhak Merak, may reach 40 kg or even 100 kg, carried by one man, moving around, up and down. The tiger's head symbolizes a hero. The man, warok, who bears it must have a magic power.
Dhadhak Merak, often known as Singobarong, is performed as a welcoming dance for honorable guests, or as attractions, complete with its attributes. For instance, the player of the role of Prabu (King) Kelana Sewandono, with his supernatural power, always carries an inhabited, holy whip.
Another man plays the role of a dancer, Bujangganong, a governor under the rule of King Kelana Sewandono. He is a hero with a bad face, bearing a mask with a red, long nose, untidy hair and tusked teeth.
The team of players is completed with riders on horses made of bamboo plaitwork or skin of animal. They symbolize the escorting soldiers of King Kelana Sewandono on his trips. Formerly these horse-riders were played by men called Gembak. But now they are generally women.
The total number of a Reog team is between 20 and 40 members, including the magical heroes (waroks) with open breasts and waist band, symbolizing their magic power.
According to history the Reog dance originated from the glorious era of the Kediri kingdom around the l5th century. The region of Ponorogo was called Wengker, the seat of the kingdom of Bentarangin (now the area of subdistrict Sonoroto) under King Kelana Sewandono. He had a governor, Pujangga Anom (in the Reog dance called Bujangganong). One night Kelana Sewandono dreamed meeting a beautiful princess, Songgolangit. He felt in love with her and ordered his governor to ask the hand of the princess. This proposal was accepted on the condition that the King should present an attraction which was still unknown at that time.
King Kelana Sewandono then decided to kill the powerful King Singo Barong, who was pictured as a king with a tiger's head bearing a wide-winged peacock. The victorious King Kelana Sewandono then went into procession to the palace of the princess, bearing the defeated Singo Barong. The procession attracted great attention during the trip to the palace.
Another story says that Reog dance is a hint on the king of Majapahit, who married a Chinese princess. The King's power was therefore pictured as being defeated by the beauty of the Chinese princess.
No matter its origin, the Reog dance is a popular attraction, not only in Ponorogo, but all over Java to be performed on various events, including the field of tourism.

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Sabtu, 01 Desember 2007

Original Keris Pamor From Indonesia not Malaysia (Malingsia)

Pamor is the true spirit of the Keris. The pattern welding work demonstrates the skills of the Empu but also characterizes the power of the blade.

The word Pamor means in Malay, mixture of alloys, and in fact the Pamor pattern is obtained by welding together wrought iron and nickel, and then acid etching it. The mystical power of the KerisKeris blades were actually made of meteorite iron. The only fall of a meteorite in Java was recorded in the mid 18 is said to come from its celestial origin because of the use of meteorite iron. However, it is doubtful that many th century, near Prambanan. Since there was almost no natural iron deposits in Java, most probably most of the blades were made beforehand from imported iron. Sulawesi is said to have exported its iron which contains a low percentage of nickel, this type of metal is called Pamor Luwu, from the Eastern part of central Sulawesi. While using this nickelous iron, Javanese smiths found they could control specific pattern designs by etching the blade and creating a contrast between the darken iron and the bright nickel.

The Prambanan meteor was said to contain 9.4% nickel, which made it very attractive to smiths, but its scarcity restricted its use to top quality blades for wealthy owners.

The colonial presence brought, in the late 19th century another source of cheap nickel from scrap iron: bicycles frames, ship propeller, tools... These industrial metal parts contained up to 5% nickel and provided a very high contrast pamor with bright nickel. More recently pure Nickel has been used, thus recently forged blade show a very uniform shiny nickel.


  • Ilining Warih
  • Wos Wutah
  • Lintang Kemukus
  • Udan Mas
  • Mlati Sumebar
  • Buntel Mayit
  • Junjung Drajat
  • Banyu Mili
The most famous keris in Indonesia :


Jumat, 30 November 2007


Almost every where in Yogya, Solo, Semarang and other cities in Central Java, in Karatons, in the market, in the villages, in the hotel's lobby, you should hear the magical melodious percussion music - the gamelan Javanese orchestra.

In his book 'music of Java' Jaap Kunst says, "Gamelan is comparable to only two things, moonlight and flowing water. ...mysterious like moonlight and always changing like flowing water ...".

Gamelan music is an integral part of all cultural activities in Java such as wayang kulit (leather puppets) performance, court dance, uyon-uyon (symphony orchestra performance), etc. There are two kinds of laras (tuning) in gamelan, namely slendro (comparable to minor key in Western music) and Pelog (major key). A complete set of gamelan consist of two sets of different instruments of Slendro and Pelog, such as:

  1. Kendang (double ended drum beaten by hands)
    It is a leading instrument. The pengendang (drumer) is the conductor of the gamelan orchestra. There are five (5) different sizes of kendang from 20 cm to 45 cm.

  2. Saron
    A glockenspiel with bronze bar struck with wooden mallet. There are three kinds; Saron Barung, Saron Peking, Saron Demung.

  3. Bonang Barung
    A double row of bronze kettles resting on a horizontal frame, played with two long stick bound with red cord at the striking end.
  4. Bonang Penerus

  5. Slentem
    Thin bronze bars suspended over bamboo resonating chambers, struck with a padded disc on the end of a stick.
  6. Gender
    Similar to slentem with more bronze keys and smaller bamboo chamber, struck with two disc-shaped hammers.

  7. Gambang
    Wooden bars laid over a wooden frame struck with two sticks of supple buffalo horn, ending with a small, round, padded disc.
  8. Gong
    Each slendro and pelog set had three gongs. Two big gongs (Gong Ageng) and one gong Suwukan about 90 cm, made from bronze, suspended on a wooden frame. It marks the end of the largest phrase of the melody.

  9. Kempul
    Smaller gongs, marks a smaller phrase. In each slendro and pelog set, there are 6 (six) or 10 (ten) kempuls.
  10. Kenong
    Smaller gongs lay horizontally on crossed cord, inside a wooden frame. A complete set of kenong in each slendro and pelog consist of 10 (ten) kenongs.

  11. Ketug
    The kenong player also plays it smaller kenong, marks subdivisions of phrases.
  12. Clempung
    A string instrument, each slendro and pelog set needs one clempung.
  13. Siter
    Smaller cemplung, each slendro and pelog set needs one siter

  14. Suling
    It is a flute, each slendro and pelog set, needs one suling.
  15. Rebab
    A two stringed viol, the same as slendro and pelog.
  16. Keprak and Kepyak
    Needed for gamelan to accompany dances.
  17. Bedug
    It is a very big drum.

The bars of the gamelan instruments can be made either from iron, copper or bronze. The bronze bars are the best choice. All the gamelan players are sitting cross-legged on a mat during a performance.

In a gamelan music concert or karawitan performance, the Kendang player or pengendang conducts the Tempo, while the melody is led by the bonang player

The gamelan orchestra includes some singers (Pesinden), female as well as male. There are some very famous Pesindens, their names are almost known by everybody in this region.

Some believe that in the ancient time, the first set of gamelan, by the name of Lokananta was created by gods and played in Mount Lawu, Eastward of Solo.

In short the history of gamelan was as follow:
The first gamelan was the three-toned Munggang, then the five-toned slendro gamelan and the last: the seven-toned pelog gamelan.

In the laras slendro, there are:

  • Slendro patet nem
  • Slendro patet sanga
  • Slendro patet manyura
In the laras pelog, there are:
  • Pelog patet lima
  • Pelog patet nem
  • Pelog patet barong

Patet is a place to lay the gending or to establish the gending. In the wayang kulit (shadow puppet) whole night show, the gamelan plays,
Slendro patet nem from 9.00-12.00 p.m.
Slendro patet sanga from 00.00-03.00 a.m.
Slendro patet manyura from 03.00-06.00 a.m.

For an experienced gamelan player it should not difficult to determine the patet of a particular gamelan music. Or it can be said that patet is used to create mood, with the gamelan accompaniment. It is already known that various gamelan tunes are played to create different atmosphere of the situation or feeling such as joy, sorrow, anger etc.


The most famous pusaka or heirloom for Javanese people is Keris (dagger). In the ancient time, a man is not considered as a real man if he has no keris. The keris is highly valued, treated and respected with special care.
This pusaka is usually inherited from fore fathers. According to Javanese ancient tradition, especially in the court families, a father was obliged to give to his adult son at least a keris..
In general, keris is divided to two important parts, the blade (Wilah) and the scabbard (Warangka), to protect the blade. The process of the making of the blade in the old days may last one year only for one keris. The keris maker is called an Empu. Only the respectable Empus could make a high quality keris, physically and spiritually. Empu has to do some spiritual deeds to prepare a keris, like fasting, not sleeping for several days and nights, meditation, etc.
In Principle, a keris is a personal sacred weapon, it is made by an Empu, in accordance with the wish of the consumer. The manufacturing of keris is complicated, for short as the following : At workshop with good fire plate to case the row materials such as 5 kg iron plate, measuring; 4 cm wide, 2 cm thick, 15 cm long; 50 gr of nickel and 0,5 kg of steel. The iron is heated until it become smaller, it forges again and again. The 5 kg iron become 2 kg forged iron. The nickel inserted in between the forged iron, smolder them, forged them carefully to produce the desired 'pamor' or surface pattern. Afterward the steel sheet, together with above forged iron and nickel, smolder and forge again.

In this stage the keris should be made Keris Lurus (a straight keris) or Keris Luk (keris with curves). The keris should be formed in accordance to the blue print, using several tools such as; rough fine, triangular files, grindstone and chisels. Afterwards the keris should be heated but not smoldered and than plated, to make the keris more durable. After it has been plated, it should be soaked in a mix solution of sulfur, lemon juice and salt. The keris is ready and its weight is about 0,4 kg.
The Physical Characteristic of Keris :
Keris Lurus (straight Keris) and Keris Luk (curved keris)
Dapur Dapur or shape is the keris specific form or type and identified by particular combination of parts and curved (luk). The meaning of dapur is based on certain standard which is called Pakem Dapur Keris. The names of dapur among other :
Sangga Buwono
Jangkung Mangkurat
Tilam Upih
Jalak Nyucup Madu
Tangguh Tangguh is the estimated era of keris making. It is linked with prominent kingdoms, such as ;
Tangguh Kahuripan of XI AD
Tangguh Singasari of XII AD
Tangguh Pajajaran of XIII AD
Tangguh Majapahit of XIV AD
Tangguh Mataram of XIV - XVI AD
Tangguh Kartosuro
Tangguh Surokarto
Tangguh Yogyakarta
Pamor Surface pattern of a keris blade, the design has not been carved, it appears as a result of forging technique of different metals. Some pamor's name are :
Ilining Warih
Wos Wutah
Lintang Kemukus
Udan Mas
Mlati Sumebar

The magical Power of Keris
Despite its physical characteristic, keris contain a spiritual mission.
The original spiritual power is the wishes of the Empu, the maker. While preparing and making a keris, the Empu, in the holy state, solemnly pray to God Almighty, the keris should contain spiritual wishes as requested by the Empu or the consumer. It depends who is going to use the keris, the mission should be different, for instance, for the kings, begawans (priest), generals, high ranking officials, farmers, traders, fishermen, workers, soldiers, etc. So, it could be easy to understand that a keris which good for king , may be not good for a trader. The Additional and/or Other Spiritual Power of Keris. The keris could be filled with spiritual beings, unseen by ordinary people, such as a genie, (jin or qodam) in order to protect or to help the keris owner.

The Physical characteristic of Keris, also symbolizing its mission.
Dapur : Jalak Ngucup Madu (jalak is a starling, a kind of bird; ngucup is drink; madu is honey). The wish is clear, the owner of the keris should live in prosperity.
Pamor : Udan Mas (udan is rain; mas is gold). The keris has a mission to help its owner to have an abundant wealth.
A. Keris Lurus or Straight Keris, symbolizing self-confidence, strong mentality. B.Keris Luk or Keris with Curved
Luk 3 : symbolizing a success to achieve some wishes. Luk 5 : to be loved by other people Luk 7 : dignity. Luk 9 : dignity, charismatic and leadership. Luk 11 : to achieve high position Luk 13 : peaceful and stability of live.
Definition of a Good Keris
A keris is considered 'good' if it has perfect physical characteristics and at the same time contains good and strong spiritual power.
Menayuh KerisAs it has been explained above, that keris is originally a very personal heirloom, fit only for the owner.

Nowadays, there are a lot of keris in the market for sale, the term used is not buying and selling, but Mas Kawin (Bride price).
How could someone know that a keris should be fit for buyer ? The keris should be tayuh (asked), what is its missions, who is the Empu, etc, of course by an expert in this field who has ability to communicate with a keris.
The Price of Keris

The price in terms of money are very variable, depends to its quality. 'Ordinary' keris should be around Rp. 250.000,- (US$ 100), but a masterpiece could reach as high as US$ 50.000 !!!


Batik is one of Java's famous and highly developed art traditions, together with wayang (shadow puppets), gamelan (Javanese orchestra) and keris (the dagger - heirloom).
Anywhere, batik designed materials are clearly seen as women traditional dresses, shirts, uniforms, sarongs, bags, hats, table-cloths, napkins, painting and decorative items, etc, with traditional color of brown, indigo and blue or more colorful ones.
Nowadays, batik is an important industry in many production centers in Java. It is a proof that the people of Java do love the products, long time ago created by their ancestors..
The Symbolic Meaning of Batik's Motifs
The motifs of Batik, especially with old pattern, as in other field of Javanese tradition are symbolizing something. Might be, this is one of the reasons, why people still adore batik up to present date. Some of the motifs are :
Sido Mulyo : Sido (you should be ), mulyo (happy). Symbolizing 'you should be happy and rich man'.
Sido Dadi : Symbolizing 'you should be a man/woman as you wish (prosperous, high ranking position, wealthy, etc)'.
Satrio Wibowo : Symbolizing 'Man with dignity'.
Tikel Asmorodono : Tikel (more), Asmoro (love), Dono (gift). It is meant the one who wears this batik, should be loved more and more by others.
The Process of Batik Making
Batik, in Javanese means 'To Dot'. Basically there are two kinds of batik; Batik Tulis (hand drawn) and Batik Cap (stamped). The price of batik tulis is much more expensive than batik cap.

A canting (a pen like instrument with a small reservoir of liquid wax) is applied to the cloth of batik tulis making. The tracing of the desired design on to the prepared cloth is the first stage of making followed by the technique of applying wax and dye substances. At the final stage of the process, all the wax scraped off and the cloth boiled to remove all traces of the wax. This process of repeatedly waxing and dyeing is the batik process, used until nowadays in Java and other parts of Indonesia.
So, this kind art of batik is an indigenous to the country. The wax used in batik process is a combined product of paraffin, bees-wax, plant resins called gondorukem and mata kucing.
Batik cap, which is also using the waxing process, its process of course faster and easier. But people appreciation of batik tulis is higher, it is really a work of an artist not only a craftsman. It combines the expertise, patience, deep feeling to produce the finest product, and it may take days, weeks and even months to make only a batik tulis
The Cities of Batik
Yogyakarta and Solo are the centers of traditional of batiks, as the north coastal town of Pekalongan is the center of more modern batiks, using more floral and birds motifs. There are some well-known artists of batik design in Yogya and Solo, as well as some big batik manufacturers with famous trademarks.
The growing production of batik makes way to the establishment of mori (woven cotton fabrics) factories in Yogya and Central Java. The Batik research Institute was founded in Yogya.
When Batik is Worn
Batik dresses are worn for several purposes, such as ;
Informal Dresses It is a free choice, usually for daily casual wear.
Formal Occasions In some parties, as a state banquets, receptions, etc, the invitees are requested to wear batik. Long sleeves shirts for the men and 'kain batik' (long batik to cover the lower body) for the women.
Traditional Occasions It is worn to present the traditional wedding ceremonies, special ceremonies for the Royal families, etc.
In a wedding ceremony the bride and the bridegroom wear the same motif of batik Sidomukti, symbolizing a happiness and prosperous life. Using the same motif symbolizing the togetherness. The parents of the bride and the bridegroom wear batik with motif of Truntum, symbolizing the advice of the parents to the newly weds to enter the new life with full of love and confidence.
Traditional Dress
Women's traditional dress, especially in Yogya and Solo court families, consisting of :
Jarit or Tapih or Sinjang A 'kain panjang' (long cloth of batik) measuring around 2 m x 1 m to cover the lower body, tightened with stagen (large waist band)
Kebaya It is a traditional long sleeved shirt (the material used is not from batik, usually from silk and other fine materials).
Selendang It is used as attractive piece of clothing to compliment the traditional dress. The 2 m x 0,5 m selendang cloth hung over one shoulder.
Kemben or Semekan It is special for ceremonies in Karaton (palace) or Royal family ceremonies. Instead of wearing Kebaya, to cover the upper body, a kemben is worn.
Men's Traditional Dresses
Jarit or Bebed Men kain panjang, tightened with stagen.
Surjan Men traditional long sleeved shirt (only for Yogya style) and the material is not batik.
Beskap Instead of wearing surjan, the men wear a coat (beskap of Solo style or Atila of Yogya style), the materials is not batik.
Blangkon It is a headgear made from batik.
Keris The dagger is worn at backside of the waist, as a compliment to the dress.
Is a very long jarit to cover the lower body. It is worn only on a very special occasion such as the king coronation by the king himself. The wearing of dodot or kampuhan is very complicated. It may take two hours to wear a dodot with the help of specialist-dressers!

Performance of Wayang Kulit (Leather Puppet)

Wayang is an Indonesian word for theatre. When the term is used to refer to kinds of puppet theater, sometimes the puppet itself is referred to as wayang. "Bayang", the Javanese word for shadow or imagination, also connotes "spirit." Performances of shadow puppet theater are accompanied by gamelan in java, and by "gender wayang" in bali. UNESCO designated Wayang Kulit, a shadow puppet theater and the best known of the Indonesian wayang, as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003History of Wayang Wayang is a generic term denoting traditional theatre in Indonesia. There is no evidence that wayang existed before Hinduism came to Southeast asia sometime in the first century CE. However, there very well may have been indigenous storytelling traditions that had a profound impact on the development of the traditional puppet theatre. The first record of a wayang performance is from an inscription dated 930 CE which says "si Galigi mawayang," or "Sir Galigi played wayang". From that time till today it seems certain features of traditional puppet theatre have remained. Galigi was an itinerant performer who was requested to perform for a special royal occasion. At that event we know he performed a story about the hero Bima from the Mahabharata.
Hinduism arrived in Indonesia from India even before the Christian era, and was slowly adopted as the local belief system. Sanskrit became the literary and court language of Java and later of Bali. The Hindus changed the Wayang (as did the Muslim, later) to spread their religion, mostly by stories from the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. Later this mixture of religion and wayang play was praised as harmony between Hinduism and traditional Indonesian culture. On Java, the western part of Sumatra and some smaller islands traditionalists continued to play the old stories for some time, but the influence of Hinduism prevailed and the traditional stories either fell into oblivion or were integrated into the Hinduistic plays.
The figures of the wayang are also present in the paintings of that time for example the roof murals of the courtroom in Klungkung, Bali. They are still present in traditional Balinese painting today.
When Islam began spreading in Indonesia, the display of God or gods in human form was prohibited, and thus this style of painting and shadow play was suppressed. King Raden Patah of Demak, Java wanted to see the wayang in its traditional form, but failed to obtain permission from the Muslim religious leaders. As an alternative, the religious leaders converted the wayang golek into wayang purwa made from leather, and displayed only the shadow instead of the figures itself. Instead of the forbidden figures only their shadow picture was displayed, the birth of the wayang kulit.
The wayang klitik figures are painted, flat woodcarvings (a maximum of 5 to 15 mm thick -- barely half an inch) with movable arms. The head is solidly attached to the body. With these, it is possible to do puppet plays either by day or by night. This type of wayang is relatively rare.
Wayang today is both the most ancient and most popular form of puppet theatre in the world. Hundreds of people will stay up all night long to watch the superstar performers, dalang, who command extravagant fees and are international celebrities. Some of the most famous dalang in recent history are Ki Nartosabdho, Ki Anom Suroto, Ki Asep Sunarya, Ki Sugino, and Ki Manteb Sudarsono.

Wayang kulit, shadow puppets are prevalent in Java and Bali, are without a doubt the best known of the Indonesian wayang. Kulit means skin and refers to the leather construction of the puppets that are carefully chiseled with very fine tools and supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods.The stories are usually drawn from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Serat Menak. The island of Lombok has developed its own style of Serat Menak called Wayang Sasak.There is a family of characters in Javanese wayang called Punakawan; sometimes referred to as "clown-servants" because they usually are associated with the story's hero and also 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. 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 syle 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. Historically, the performance consisted of shadows cast on a cotton screen cast an oil lamp. Today, the source of light in Java is most often a halogen electric light. Some modern forms of wayang such as Wayang Sandosa created in the Art Academy at Surakarta (STSI) has employed Spotlight, colored lights and other innovations.The handwork involved in making a wayang kulit figure that is suitable for a performance takes several weeks, with the artists working together in groups. They start from master models (typically on paper) which are traced out onto kulit (skin or parchment), providing the figures with an outline and with indications of any holes that will need to be cut (such as for the mouth or eyes). The figures are then smoothed, usually with a glass bottle, and primed. The structure is inspected and eventually the details are worked through. A further smoothing follows before individual painting, which is undertaken by yet another craftsman. Finally, the movable parts (upper arms, lower arms with hands and the associated sticks for manipulation) mounted on the body, which has a central staff by which it is held. A crew makes up to ten figures at a time, typically completing that number over the course of a week. The painting of less expensive puppets is handled expediently with a spray technique, using templates, and with a different person handling each color. Less expensive puppets, often sold to children during performances, are sometimes made on cardboard instead of leather.Wayang topeng or wayang gedog or wayang wong

Wayang wong is a type of theatrical performance with themes from the kingdom of Jenggala, in which the players wear masks known as wayang topeng or wayang gedog. The word "gedog" comes from "kedok", which, like "topeng" means "mask". The main theme is the story of raden panji and chandra. This is a love story about princess Candra Kirana of kediri and Raden Panji Asmarabangun, the crown prince of Jenggala. Candra Kirana was the incarnation of Dewi Ratih (goddess of love) and Panji was an incarnation of Kamajaya (god of love). Kirana's story was given the title "smaradhana" ("The fire of love"). At the end of the complicated story they finally can marry and bring forth a son, named Raja Putra. Panji Asmarabangun ruled Jenggala under the official names Sri Kameswara, Prabu Suryowiseso, and Ino kertapati. Originally, wayang wong was performed only as an aristocratic entertainment in four palaces of Yogyakarta and Surakarta. In the course of time, it spread to become a popular and folk form as well.Wayang wong has fixed patterns of movement and costume: very slow, elegant and smooth movement. For example, the dance of Arjuna, Puntadewa and all other slimly built Kshatriyas. There are two types of movement, lanyap and luruh.Gagah:
  • Kambeng: a more athletic dance, used for the roles of Bima, Antareja and gatotkaca.
  • Bapang: gagah and kasar for the warriors of Kurawa.
  • Kalang kinantang: falls somewhere between alus and gagah, danced by tall, slim dancers in the roles of Kresno or Suteja.Gecul: ponokawan and cantrik
  • Kambeng dengklik: for ape warriors, such as Hanuman.Kalang kinantang dengklik: for ape warriors, such as Sugriwa and Subali.For female performers: Kshatriya noblemen. Costumes and props distinguish kings, Kshatriyas, monks, princesses, The movements know as nggruda or ngenceng encot in the classical, high style of dance consist of nine basic movements (joged pokok) and twelve other movements (joged gubahan and joged wirogo) and are used in portraying Bedoyo and Srimpi.Today, the wayang wong, following the Gagrak style of Surakarta, is danced by women. They follow the alus movements associated with a Kshatriya, resembling Arjuna. Following the Gagkra style from Yogyakarta a male dancer uses these same Alus movements to depict princes and generals. There are about 45 distinct character types.Wayang Golek or Rod Puppets

    Wayang golek are wooden doll puppets that are operated from below by rods connected to the hands and a central control rod that runs through the body to the head. The simple construction of the puppets belies their versatility, expressiveness and aptitude for imitating human dance. Little is known for certain about the history of wayang golek, but scholars have speculated that it that most likely originated in China and arrived in Java sometime in the 17th century. Some of the oldest traditions of wayang golek are from the north coast of Java in what is called the pasisir region. This is home to some of the oldest Muslim kingdoms in Java and it is likely the wayang golek grew in popularity through telling the wayang menak stories of Amir Hamzah, the uncle of Muhammad. These stories are still widely performed in Kabumen, Tegal, and Jepara as wayang golek menak, and in Cirebon wayang golek cepak. Legendary origins of wayang golek attribute their invention to the Muslim saint wali sunan kudus, who used the medium to prosletize Muslim values. In the 18th century the tradition moved into the mountains of West Java where it eventually was used to tell stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabarata in a tradtion now called wayang golek purwa, which can be found in Bandung, Bogor and Jakarta. Wayang golek purwa has become the most popular form of wayang golek today and the most famous puppeteer family is the Sunarya family which has produced several generations of stellar performers.

    Wayang klitik image of Batara GuruWayang klitik figures occupy a middle ground between the figures of wayang golek and wayang kulit. They are constructed similarly to wayang kulit figures, but from thin pieces of wood instead of leather, and, like wayang kulit figures, are used as shadow puppets. A further similarity is that they are the same smaller size as wayang kulit figures. However, wood is more subject to breakage than leather. During battle scenes, wayang klitik figures often sustain considerable damage, much to the amusement of the public, but in a country in which before 1970 there were no adequate glues available, breakage generally meant an expensive, newly made figure. On this basis the wayang klitik figures, which are to appear in plays where they have to endure battle scenes, have leather arms. The name of these figures is onomotopaeic, from the sound klitik-klitik, that these figures make when worked by the dalang.

    Wayang klitik figures come originally from eastern java, where one still finds workshops turning them out. They are less costly to produce than wayang kulit figures.

    The origin of the stories involved in these puppet plays comes from the kingdoms of eastern Java: Jenggala, kediri and Majapahit. From Jenggala and Kediri come the stories of Raden Panji and Cinderalas, which tells of the adventures of a pair of village youngsters with their Fighting ccks. The Damarwulan presents the stories of a hero (Damarwulan) from Majapahit. Damarwulan is a clever chap, who with courage, aptitude, intelligence and the assistance of his young lover Anjasmara, makes a surprise attack on the neighboring kingdom and brings down Minakjinggo, an Adipati (viceroy) of Blambangan and mighty enemy of Majapahit's beautiful queen Sri Ratu Kencanawungu. As a reward, Damarwulan is married to Kencanawungu and becomes king of Majapahit; he also takes Lady Anjasmara as a second wife. This story is full of love affairs and battles and is very popular with the public. The dalang is liable to incorporate the latest local gossip and quarrels and work them into the play as comedy.

    The wayang beber has strong similarities to narratives in the form of illustrated ballads that were common at annual fairs in medieval and early modern Europe. They have also been subject to the same fate – they have nearly vanished. A few scrolls of images remain from those times, found today in museums. Performances, mostly in small auditoriums, take place according to the following pattern:The dalang gives a sign, the gamelan orchestra (or a musician with a violin-like instrument) begins to play and the Dalang unrolls a picture related to the story. Then, speaking and singing, he narrates the story in more detail. In this manner, in the course of the evening he unrolls several pictures. The pictures are shown one at a time and are successively unrolled. Each picture represents a story or part of a story. The content of the story typically stems from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Jenggala stories or profane stories from other villages and kingdoms.Wayang SadatThis newly developed form is used by teachers of Islam to show the principles of Muslim ethics and religion to the natives of Java and Bali.

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