Some Indonesian mask arts

A mask is an object that is worn on the face. Usually the mask used to accompany the music of local arts. Masks in the regional arts are generally to respect the offerings or clarify the character in accompanying the arts. Various forms of masks depict angry characters, some that describe soft, and those that describe wisdom.

Mask has become one of the oldest forms of expression that human civilization has ever created. In most of the world community, masks play an important role in various aspects of life that hold magical and sacred values. This is because of the large role of masks as special symbols in various noble ceremonies and activities.

The life of modern society now places the mask as one form of high art. Not only because of its aesthetic beauty, but the mystery that is stored in the face of the mask is still able to radiate magical powers that are difficult to explain.

Here are some masks that come from the homeland

Villagers scattered around Cirebon are only heirs and not their creators. The inhabitants of this village are also the successors of the Cirebon Keraton dancers who used to maintain it. The dancers and gamelan performers of the Keraton during the Dutch colonial era made their livelihood more difficult, so they had to find their source of life in the rural people.

The Cirebon mask, which was originally based in the Keraton, is now scattered within the rural peasant community. And as is generally the case with folk art, Cirebon Mask also quickly underwent transformations. The transformation process ended with the current situation, namely the development of various “styles” of Cirebon Mask, such as Losari, Selangit, Kreo, Palimanan and developing in remote areas of the District, among others: Klangenan, Plumbon and Arjawinangun, while in Cirebon itself has been displaced by more modern art. However, it can still be seen that there is a Kraton culture which teaches nobility in its performance which blends with a simple folk culture seen from the clothes worn by the dancers.

In the appointment of the story in the staging is the story of Panji in five life character cycles, including:

  1. Flag – stage of birth,
  2. Samba (Pamindo) – the stage of childhood,
  3. Rumyang – adult stage,
  4. Tumenggung (Patih) – the stage of gaining a position in the community,
  5. Ruwana (Rahwana) and Klana – the human stage which has been mastered by various passions.

In the appointment of the mask character is very expressed by the patterns of body movements of the dancers, so that the Cirebon mask dance is very beautiful in its performance.

Jogja Mask

In the Wayang Wong performance created by Hamengku Bhuwono I (1755-1792) in expressing the dance character of the puppet figures for the role of monkeys and giants in the Ramayana and Mahabharata performances the performers were equipped with masks, while for warriors and women not wearing masks .

In the performance of Wayang Orang Gedog punakawan Pentul and Tembem put on their half-face masks so they can dialogue freely without raising their masks. It is different with the performance of the Panji story, the players are wearing masks in a way that is stretched a little so that the players can say the antawacananya. In the Yogyakarta style mask the mustache is made by wearing a black color

Surakarta Mask

The Surakarta style mask is almost the same as the Yogyakarta style but there is only a difference in the mustache made from feathers. Bancak and Doyok punakawan figures also wear half-face masks like the style of Yogyakarta

Malang Mask

Malang Mask is a puppet performance of Gedog which in its performance uses a mask. In its development in Kedungmoro and Polowijen, Blimbing District, Malang, known as Jabung Mask. In the performance, the Panji stories are presented with characters such as: Panji Inu Kertapati, Klana Swandana, Dewi Ragil Kuning, Raden Gunungsari, etc. The dancers wear masks and dance according to the characters being played. In the performance the curtain which is cut in the middle is used as the exit / entrance of the dancers.

Maestro Topeng Malang, who still preserves it, is Mbah Karimun with his wife, Siti Maryam, by continuing to train the small children in his neighborhood to learn to make Malang Mask and the Malangan Mask dance.

Likewise Mbah Kari (born in Malang Jabung Village, 1936) diligently carved and carved wood to make masks. Perseverance based on the spirit of devotion and loyalty to the mask tradition inherited from his ancestors, although at the age of his master is still passionately training young dancers, gives examples of the variety of movements in the Jabung version of the Malangan mask dance.

Bali Mask

In Bali mask also is a form of drama that all the actors wear masks with stories that originate from historical stories better known as Babads.

In performing the roles played, the dancers wear masks (which cover the entire face of the dancer), sibakan masks (which cover only part of the face from the forehead to the upper jaw, including those that only cover the forehead and nose). All figures wearing masks do not need to have direct dialogues, while all figures wearing masks are wearing kawi and Balinese dialogues.

The main characters contained in the Mask dramatari consist of Pangelembar (Hard masks and old masks), Panasar (Kelihan – older, and smaller Cenikan), Ratu (Dalem and Patih) and Bondres (the people). The types of mask dramatari in Bali are:

  1. Mask Pajeganyang danced by an actor by buying up all the tasks contained in the play that was delivered.
  2. Sidakarya Mask In the Pajegan mask there is an absolute mask that must exist, namely the Sidakarya mask. Because of the close relationship between the Pajegan mask and religious ceremonies, this mask is also called the Guardian Mask. Dramatari Mask until now there are still almost all over Bali
  3. The Pancake Mask is played by four or five dancers who play different roles according to the demands of the play,
  4. Prembon masks featuring mixed figures taken from Panca Mask Dramatari and some from Arja and Bondres Mask, a relatively young mask performance art that prioritizes the appearance of funny characters to present fresh humor.

The name Arja is thought to have come from the word Reja (Sanskrit) which means beauty. Arja is a kind of Balinese opera, is a drama that dialogue is developed macapat. This Arja Dramatari is one of the arts that is very popular among the people.

Arja is thought to have appeared in the 1820s, during the reign of king Klungkung I, Dewa Agung Sakti. Three important phases in the development of Arja are:

  • Arja Doyong (Arja without gamelan accompaniment, played by one person).
  • Arja Gaguntangan (who uses Gaguntangan gamelan with more than one person).
  • Arja Gede (performed by between 10 and 15 actors with a standardized performance structure as it is now).

The main sources of Arja’s story are the Panji (Malat) story, then a number of stories were born such as Bandasura, Pakang Raras, Linggar Petak, I Godogan, Cipta Kelangen, Made Umbara, Cilinaya and Dempu Awang which are widely known by the public.

Arja also performed plays from folklore such as Jayaprana, Sampik Ingtai, Basur and Cupak Grantang as well as several stories taken from the Mahabharata and Ramayana stories. Whatever the play Arja always presents, the main characters include Inya, Galuh, Desak (Desak Rai), Limbur, Twists, Panasar, Mantri Manis, Mantri Buduh and two pairs of punakawan or Panasar sisters, each consisting of Punta and Punta. Kartala Almost all regions in Bali still have active Arja groups.

At the end of the twentieth century Arja Muani was born, all male players, some playing women. Arja was welcomed with great enthusiasm by the public because, presenting fresh comedy.

Balinese mask dance has its own dance characteristics. With a typical gamelan rhythm accompaniment of dance drama but does not raise the stories in the puppet. The form of dance can be divided into 2 types, namely:

  1. Pajegan Mask – the dancer is only one person but in the performance brings various kinds of masks that are successively worn / replaced on stage and dance according to the character of the mask being used.
  2. Mask Panca – this dance is a development of the Pajegan Mask dance with the addition of players to 5 people.

if you are interested in Indonesian masks you can visit the Indonesia Souvenirs site

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