Performance of Wayang Kulit

Inevitability, upon arrival somewhere in Java, a visitor shall see some colorful flat leather puppets, the WAYANG KULIT. Wayang means shadow, kulit means leather. WAYANG is a Javanese ancient cultural heritage which is very popular to present date and has become a hardly expression embracing most types of theater. The visitor will see everywhere; in airports, hotels, shops, museum, even in palaces the WAYANG leather puppets such as RAMA, SHINTA, ANOMAN, RAHWANA, KUMBAKARNA, from RAMAYANA epic and PUNTADEWA, BIMA, ARJUNA, NAKULA, SADEWA, DURYUDANA, DURNA, KARNA, from MAHABARATA epic, and also SEMAR the most popular dwarf clown figure.

Many experts are of the opinion that a form of WAYANG have been existed long before arrival of Hindu. The tales of WAYANG, either from RAMAYANA or MAHABARATA performed here are of Javanese version. There are many people who believe, even now, that the event in WAYANG, actually took place in ancient Java with Javanese actors.

During the rule of King SRI MAHA PUNGGUNG (RADEN JAKA PAKUKUHAN), in the 4th century, with his Karaton (palace) JAWADWIPA in mount GEDE (West Java) began the stories of WAYANG from Javanese RAMAYANA and MAHABARATA. Furthermore it was developed by AIRLANGGA, one of the great king in East Java in the 11th century.

(Suryo S. Negoro)




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