About

Wayang is an Indonesian word for theatre (literally “shadow”). When the term is used to refer to kinds of puppet theater, sometimes the puppet itself is referred to as wayang. 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 2003. In return of the acknowledgment, UNESCO demanded Indonesia to preserve their heritage.

The History

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 brought in by Indian traders. 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 he performed a story about the hero Bhima from the Mahabharata

Wayang Kulit is a unique form of theatre employing light and shadow. The puppets are crafted from buffalo hide and mounted on bamboo sticks. When held up behind a piece of white cloth, with an electric bulb or an oil lamp as the light source, shadows are cast on the screen.

Wayang Kulit plays are invariably based on romantic tales, especially adaptations of the classic Indian epics, “The Mahabarata” and “The Ramayana”. Some of the plays are also based on local happenings (current issues) or other local secular stories. It is up to the conductor or “Tok Dalang” to decide his direction.

The Dalang is the genius behind the entire performance. It is he who sits behind the screen and narrates the story. With a traditional orchestra in the background to provide a resonant melody and its conventional rhythm, the Dalang modulates his voice to create suspense thus heightening the drama. Invariably, the play climaxes with the triumph of good over evil.

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 Muslims, 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.[citation needed] Instead of the forbidden figures only their shadow picture was displayed, the birth of the wayang kulit.[citation needed]

The 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. Wayang klitik can be used to perform puppet plays either during the day or at 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.

25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mybigkitchen
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 23:32:08

    Saya ingin memberkan apresiasi sedalam-dalamnya untuk blog ini. Saya saat ini sedang tertarik tentang isu kebudayaan Indonesia yang luar biasa ini, dan sangat ingin berbuat sesuatu tentangnya. Top! kalau bisa saya ingin menonton salah satu pertunjukkannya. Mudah-mudahan tidak ada halangan, agar tanggal 25 september ini bisa datang ke pertunjukan gatot kaca. amin.

    Reply

  2. wayang
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 09:56:37

    thank you apresiasinya pak. tgl 25sept pertunjukan gatotkaca dimana? wayang orang/kulit? kalo ada info jadwal pentas wayang, boleh kabarin di mari. thanks again =)

    Reply

  3. udyrody
    Sep 06, 2010 @ 10:59:00

    izin copy paste gambar-gambarnya, soalnya bagus sekali, pas juga sebagai bahan mengkritisi masalah tanpa harus tersinggung. trim’s

    Reply

  4. ratansolomj9
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 11:22:39

    Wayang … adalah kisah yang tak lekang oleh zaman. Sarat akan falsafah hidup, yang memberi kita pilihan. Pagelaran Wayang adalah seni pertunjukan yang tak ada duanya di dunia, selain milik negeri kita. Hidup Wayang.

    Reply

  5. Jaman Semana
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 19:16:19

    Salam kenal.
    Blog yang bagus untuk referensi. Terima kasih beberapa materi anda saya gunakan untuk melengkapi posting saya di jamansemana.wordpress.com.
    Mohon berkenan mampir dan memberikan petunjuk pencerahan. Maklum, saya baru belajar
    Matur nuwun.

    Reply

  6. nurulmariasisilia
    Nov 03, 2010 @ 23:36:42

    Blogwalkiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing……..
    visit my blog too..

    Reply

  7. freakgalz
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 19:50:33

    Hebaaadd bangettt ada blog kayak begini, terus berkarya, majukan nurani bangsa! Wayang tak sekedar cerita, lebih dari ‘suatu’ budaya namun juga suatu filosofi yang mendasar dan sejarah yang bercerita akan zamannya .

    Reply

  8. freakgalz
    Jun 20, 2011 @ 19:51:21

    Hebaaadd bangettt ada blog kayak begini, terus berkarya, majukan nurani bangsa! Wayang tak sekedar cerita, lebih dari ‘suatu’ budaya namun juga suatu filosofi yang mendasar dan sejarah yang berkisah akan zamannya .

    Reply

  9. mohamadtoha
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 23:47:41

    two thumbs up!
    salut sekali atas upayanya melestarikan dan mengembangkan budaya bangsa
    salam
    -mt-

    Reply

  10. sabiliya
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 20:23:07

    mohon ijin juga untuk copy paste beberapa artikel untuk blog saya sabiliya07.wordpress.com. agar Wayang semakin dikenal masyarakat dunia… teirmakasih

    Reply

  11. Albert Hariyadi
    Sep 03, 2011 @ 00:24:43

    kalau saya ingin tahu tokoh semar bagaimana pribadinya dideskripsikan (dicondro).

    Reply

  12. Albert Hariyadi
    Sep 03, 2011 @ 00:27:43

    Paling tidak apakah dalam web ini mendeskripsikan (nyondro) para punakwan. dari bentuk dan sifat-sifatnya. kemampuan nyondro sebagai dalang sangatlah penting.

    Reply

  13. om
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 09:47:17

    saya suka sekali dengan blog ini, bisa jadi media pembelajaran yang cukup baik tentang budaya bangsa sendiri. semoga bisa tetep eksis.. salam kenal

    Reply

  14. Marthin Sinaga (@marthinsin)
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 19:11:09

    Salam…

    Perkenalkan saya Marthin Sinaga dari Art of Vision Indonesia (AOVI)
    Kami punya rencana untuk mengadakan temu Komunitas Wayang yang rencananya akan diadakan pada perayaan Hari Kebangkitan Nasional, 20 Mei nanti.

    Jika berkenan, bolehkah saya meminta kontak untuk lebih lanjut melakukan komunikasi?

    Saya bisa dikontak melalui:
    Hp: 085693546331 | 082125425694
    Pin BB: 232E2097
    email: marthin.sin@gmail.com

    Atas atensinya, saya ucapkan terimakasih.

    Marthin Sinaga

    Reply

  15. agungsantoso21
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 21:50:56

    mohon izin minta gambar copy paste

    Reply

  16. barifbrave
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 06:07:11

    Mas / mb. sy ingin tahu filosofi (pelajaran karakter) dari masing2 tokoh wayang. bisa sy dapat di tulisan bagian mana y? terima kasih

    Reply

  17. Titus Austyn
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 05:18:00

    Di gedung Kesenian THR Surabaya itu ada pagelaran wayang orang, kalau ada yg berminat, silahkan menonton

    Reply

  18. Amrina Rizda Melody
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 08:27:57

    Pencetus pertama kalinya itu lebih rinci lagi di sebutkan..

    Reply

  19. Mas Sayur
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 13:08:24

    ninggalin jejak dulu..salam dari Jayapura..

    Reply

  20. Chak Gareng Putro Lampunk
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 01:34:14

    minta izin mau copy gabarnya,,,,

    Reply

  21. PoLtak
    Mar 05, 2014 @ 09:55:22

    maaf mau tanya..wayang sarpa kenanga itu gambarnya gimana ya ?

    Reply

  22. edi padmono
    Mar 21, 2014 @ 06:48:46

    Baru nemu blog ini, salam kenal dari tangerang
    ijin folow dan coppy imagenya ya pak

    Reply

  23. Studio Patung (@buatpatung)
    May 19, 2014 @ 05:09:08

    Blog yang cocok menjadi bacaan para pejabat negeri yang kacau balau ini…

    Reply

  24. Benita Rika Hawani (@BenitaRikaHawan)
    Jul 03, 2014 @ 00:21:51

    saya mau nanya cerita mahabharata itu benar/bohongan sieh???lalu kejadiannya di indonesia/di india???

    Reply

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