History of Angklung (Indonesian Traditional Music Instrument)

History of Angklung

The word Angklung originated from two words angka and lungAngka means “tone”, and lung means “broken” or “lost”. Angklung then means as an incomplete tone.


(Angklung with eight pitches)

Angklung is a musical instrument made out of two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved so that they have a resonant pitch when struck. The two tubes are tuned to octaves. The base of the frame is held with one hand while the other hand shakes the instrument rapidly from side to side. This causes a rapidly repeating note to sound. Thus each of three or more angklung performers in an ensemble will play just one note and together complete melodies are produced.Angklung is popular throughout Southeast Asia, but originated fromIndonesia and it has been used and played by the Sundanese since the ancient times.

In the Hindu period and the era of the Kingdom of Sunda, the angklung played an important role in ritual ceremonies such as ngaseuk pare,nginebkeun parengampihkeun pareseren taunheleran, etc. These ceremonies were inherent to Sundanese communities; in courtly and everyday living. In its function as the ritual medium, the angklung was played to honor Dewi Sri, the goddess of fertility, in a hope that their life and land will be blessed. Angklung is also used to signal time for prayer[citation needed]. Later, in Kingdom of Sunda these instruments were used as martial music in the Bubat War (Perang Bubat) as told in the Kidung Sunda.

The angklung functioned to build community spirit. Because of this, the playing of the angklung was forbade during the Dutch occupation of Indonesia. Because of this, the popularity of the instrument decreased and it came to be played only by children.[citation needed]

The oldest angklung still exist is called Angklung Gubrag. The angklung was made in the 17th century in Jasinga, Bogor. Nowadays, some of those older angklung remain in Sri Bduga Museum, Bandung.

As time flown by, the angklung received a more international attention. In 1938, Daeng Soetigna, from Bandung, created angklung that is based on the diatonic scale instead of the traditional pélogor sléndro scales. Since then, angklung has been used for educational and entertainment purposes and are able to accompany western music instruments in an orchestra. One of the first well-known performances of angklung in an orchestra was during the Bandung Conference in 1955.Udjo Ngalagena, a student of Daeng Soetigna, opened his “Saung Angklung” (House of Angklung) in 1966 as a centre for its development.

File:COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Jonge angklungspelers West-Java TMnr 10017867.jpg

UNESCO designated angklung as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on November 18, 2010. As part of the acknowledgment, UNESCO insisted that Indonesia preserve their heritage.

More Pictures of Indonesian Tribes’ Traditional & Wedding Dress

Additional Traditional & Wedding Dress of Indonesian Tribes

(Thanks to Bambang Priantono for the pictures)

Aneuk Jamee, Nangroe Aceh Darussalam

Alas traditional costume, NAD

Mandailing, North Sumatera

Karo, North Sumatera

Nias, North Sumatera

Kerinci traditional dress, Jambi

Bengkulu Malay                               Pasemah, South Sumatera

Solok style, West Sumatera      Rejang costume, Bengkulu

Palembang wedding dress

Palembang wedding dress with hijab


Lampung girl

Betawian wedding dress

Combination between Arabic, Chinese, Javanese, Malay, European and Sundanese elements


Classical Sundanese wedding dress

Other Sundanese wedding dress

Sumedang Larang wedding dress, West – Java

Abah-abah bondan, Cirebon

Royal Cirebon wedding dress

Yogyakarta wedding dress (basahan)

Jogjakarta Wedding dress

Yogyakarta traditional dress

Kudus traditional dress, Central Java

Mojoputri wedding dress, East Java

It is originated of Mojokerto regency, East Java. Based on Majapahit culture

Osing wedding dress, Banyuwangi –  East Java

Banyuwangi brides

Sumenep Madurese wedding dress

Madurese traditional dress

Kolonedale, Central Sulawesi

Assorted from South East Sulawesi

Pamona girls, Central Sulawesi

Bugis costumes, South Sulawesi

Mamasa costume, West Sulawesi

Balinese traditional dress

Gandrung Lombok dress

Sasak dress, W. Nusa Tenggara

Bima traditional dress, NTB

Dompu traditional dress, NTB

Sumbawa wedding dress, NTB

Kutai royal wedding dress, East Kalimantan

Samarinda Buginese dress

Buginese in East Kalimantan developed their own style in wedding dress, and different to their ancestral land
West Kalimantan Dayak dress
Central Kalimantan Dayak dress
Banjarese costumes, South Kalimantan
Malay and Dayak, West Kalimantan
South East Moluccas
South East Maluku
North Moluccas
North Moluccas


Reog Ponorogo

Reog Ponorogo :


The dance known as Reog is a very spectacular dance with several dancers wearing bright colorful costumes accompanied by merry gamelan music.

It is always played in the open terrain, such as in a square, street etc. This dance which always draws a lot of spectators is a traditional art dance combined with magical show or a trance dance.

The reog dates back during the Hindu period in East Java. The story is related with the legend in Ponorogo Kingdom (+/- 70 km South East of Solo). Nowadays reog dance groups can be found also in other regions of Solo, Yogya, Other Towns in East Java, Kalimantan, Jakarta, even in Suriname. One of the famous group is Reog Prambanan in the border of Yogyakarta – Solo.

The Story

The powerful King Kelono Sewandono of Ponorogo Kingdom was famous with his fighting skills and magical power, accompanied by his Patih (Prime Minister) Bujanganom & his strong soldiers were attacked by King Singabarong, The King of Lions of Kediri Jungle, supported by his army, consisted of Lions and Peacocks.

At that time the Ponorogo’s group were on the way to The Kingdom of Kediri guarding King Sewandono to marry Dewi Ragil Kuning, a princess of Kediri Kingdom.

There was a big fight between mighty warriors having magical power. The peacocks flew up and down flapping their wings to support The Lions – Singa Barong.

Bujanganom with his magic whip, supported by some Waroks in black traditional dress defeated The King Lion with all his followers.

The King of Ponorogo and his soldiers merrily continued their way to Kediri on horse back. Singa Barong joint the procession The Peacocks kept close to Singa Barong opened their tail feathers which looked like beautiful fan. (Warok of Ponorogo is a man with strong magical power, always dresses in black costumes).

The Performance

The central figure of this dance is The Lion King Singa Barong represented by a dancer wearing a mask of a Lion carrying a large peacock feather fan on top of the mask (this mask is locally called : Topeng Dadak Merak). It weight around 50 kg. The dancer has to use his teeth to hold the mask from inside.

He must has  a very strong set of teeth and neck to move around the mask Dadak Merak. On top of this, he has also to carry a lady representing Princess Ragil Kuning. Or sometimes, he has to demonstrate his skill and strength by carrying another mask dancer on top of him, and still he could dance with vigorous and fantastic movements.

King Kelono Sewandono wearing a mask and a crown is a stylish dancer, Bujanganom also wearing a mask is an acrobatic dancer.

The Waroks in black costumes,

Jatilan – good looking young soldiers riding flat bamboo horses (Kuda Kepang).

Caplokan – Wears a dragon mask to lure Singa Barong to dance more livelly.

Reog-Ponorogo.jpg Reog Ponorogo image by sukandar_ag

reogponorogo2.jpg Reog Ponorogo image by helmikurniawan

reogponorogo4.jpg Reog Ponorogo image by helmikurniawan

reogponorogo.jpg Reog Ponorogo image by helmikurniawan

reog.jpg REOG PONOROGO image by haris_055

eog Ponorogo - traditional indonesia art from ponorogo, west java

Reog Ponorogo - Dancer eat snake

Reog Ponorogo an traditional dance from east java

Reog Ponorogo

The Art of Reog Ponorogo at Madania School, Indonesia (3)


Masks From Cirebon

Topeng(Mask) Panji          Topeng Rumyang

Topeng Samba                       Topeng Tumenggung

Topeng Kelana

Dedi Sambudi (53 years old) from Gegesik – Cirebon – The Mask Maker

Aerli Rasinah: The new face of the Cirebon mask dance

| Sun, 06/29/2008 10:56 AM | Life

Mimi Rasinah's granddaughter Aerli Rasinah (right) prays at Sunan Gunung Jati's tomb with her mother. Aerli has been given the responsibility to preserve the Cirebon mask dance. (Courtesy of Kamabudaya)

Mimi Rasinah’s granddaughter Aerli Rasinah (right) prays at Sunan Gunung Jati’s tomb with her mother. Aerli has been given the responsibility to preserve the Cirebon mask dance. (Courtesy of Kamabudaya)

Wearing the red mask of Kelana, a character from the traditional Cirebon mask dance, 22-year-old Aerli Rasinah danced vigorously on stage. Stamping her foot and moving her shoulders and hands in time to the percussion, she looked like a brave warrior from a wayang story.

The granddaughter of maestro mask dancer, Mimi Rasinah, 78, had just received the mandate to continue the Cirebon mask dance tradition from Mimi herself.

On stage, in the courtyard of the 16th century Cirebon founder and Islam propagator Sunan Gunung Jati, witnessed by her pupils and hundreds in the audience, Rasinah bestowed her five masks and her blessings to Aerli.

Being born into a family of dancers, Aerli has taken on the great responsibility to preserve the tradition of dance.

“It’s a heavy task. But I’ll try my best,” she said on the back stage, wiping off her sweat after dancing.

Rasinah inherited the skill to dance from her father Lastra. In 2005, she suffered a stroke and is now paralyzed on the left side of her body. She passed on the skills to her daughter and grandchildren.

“This will be my legacy before I die,” Mimi said.

Aerli’s mother, Waci, who has also mastered the Cirebon mask dance, said the family chose Aerli to take on Mimi Rasinah’s responsibilities because Aerli was still young and had lots of time to develop the tradition in the future.

Mimi Rasinah gives her blessing to Aerli Rasinah to continue the tradition of the Cirebon mask dance. (Courtesy of Kamabudaya)

Dancing maestro Mimi Rasinah dead at 80

Nana Rukmana, The Jakarta Post, Cirebon | Sun, 08/08/2010 5:35 PM | Headlines

Mimi Rasinah (Kompas.com)

Mimi Rasinah (Kompas.com)

Cirebon mask dance maestro Mimi Rasinah died Saturday after suffering a stroke. She was 80.

Hundreds of traditional dancers and pilgrims paid their last respects to the late Mimi at her funeral at Ciweni hamlet public cemetery in Pekandangan village, Indramayu, West Java, on Sunday afternoon.

Many visitors brought to the funeral masks worn by Mimi throughout her career.

Rasinah’s granddaughter Aerli Rasinah, 24, said Mimi passed away at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Indramayu General Hospital.

“When we admitted her to the hospital, she was in a very poor condition. Mimi was treated for about five minutes before she passed away,” she added.


foto festival tari topeng

CIREBON, 17/10 – ITS MASK FESTIVAL 2010. Dancers bring Mask Dance, Dance Single or Ngedok from Jakarta in the evening peak Mask Festival Nusantara 2010, in Cirebon, West Java, on Saturday (16/10). Mask Festival 2010 Nusantara function saw the presence and position of the archipelago in the constellation of art mask Indonesian arts and culture. AFP PHOTO / Rosa Panggabean/ed/pd/10.

foto festival tari topeng

Jepara (central Java) Wood Carving Art

Jepara (Central Java) Wood Carving Art

JEPARA, a place where carving-art was born and becomes the advantage-characteristic of Jepara. Talented carver generations has been appearing naturally since XVI century on the village, the sources of inspiration, as well as the centre of learning for others all around Jepara. (read : the endless forest ) has been growing since 1960’s in the local original colour, inspired by the native carvers of Jepara. creations are made by optimizing woods (roots, braches), without damaging or wasting natural forest. Through the importers from USA, English, Korea, China, Kuwait, Spain, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, and some others our products have been widely spreading. Our production capacity is willing to serve customers by certain quality, quantity, and continuity. Supporting by a lot of material, skillful carvers, and located on the center of carving home industri We create one of a kind artwork and sculpture masterworks in :
ROOT ARTS CARVED many of which are replicas of rare pieces. We offer original carvings, supreme statues and decorative sculptures and artwork crafted by genius JAVA and JEPARA artists. Custom commissioned designs, replicas and sculpture fabrication is available on request. Sculpture Arts: Ancient Greeks’ depiction of ideal form of the body is expressed through sculpture such as this one. Sculpture is any three-dimensional form created as an artistic expression. The term sculpture also refers to the artistic discipline, act or art of making sculpture, by the manipulation of materials or, in contemporary art, by designating an object or even an act as sculpture.
Relief Carving

Relief CarvingRelief CarvingRelief Carving

Relief Carving

Last Supper

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Relief Carving

Balinese Art

Balinese art

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Balinese art is art of HinduJavanese origin that grew from the work of artisans of the Majapahit Kingdom, with their expansion to Bali in the late 13th century. From the sixteenth until the twentieth centuries, the village of Kamasan, Klungkung (East Bali), was the centre of classical Balinese art. During the first part of the twentieth century, new varieties of Balinese art developed. Since the late twentieth century, Ubud and its neighboring villages established a reputation as the center of Balinese art. Ubud and Batuan are known for their paintings, Mas for their woodcarvings, Celuk for gold and silver smiths, and Batubulan for their stone carvings. Covarrubiasdescribes Balinese art as, “… a highly developed, although informal Baroque folk art that combines the peasant liveliness with the refinement of classicism of Hinduistic Java, but free of the conservative prejudice and with a new vitality fired by the exuberance of the demonic spirit of the tropical primitive.” Eiseman correctly pointed out that Balinese art is actually carved, painted, woven, and prepared into objects intended for everyday use rather than asobject d ‘art.

Recent history

Prior to 1920s, Balinese traditional paintings were restricted to what is now known as the Kamasan or Wayang style. It is a visual narrative of Hindu-Javanese epics: the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as a number of indigenous stories, such as the Panji narrative. These two-dimensional drawings are traditionally drawn on cloth or bark paper (Ulantaga paper) with natural dyes. The coloring is limited to available natural dyes: red, ochre, black, etc. In addition, the rendering of the figures and ornamentations must follow strictly prescribed rules, since they are mostly produced for religious articles and temple hangings. These paintings are produced collaboratively, and therefore mostly anonymously.

There were many experiments with new types of art by Balinese from the late nineteenth century onwards. These experiments were stimulated by access to new materials (western paper and imported inks and paint), and by the 1930s, new tourist markets stimulated many young Balinese to be involved in new types of art.

In the 1920s, with the arrival of many western artists, Bali became an artist enclave (as Tahiti was for Paul Gauguin) for avant-garde artists such as Walter Spies (German), Rudolf Bonnet (Dutch), Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur (Belgian), Arie Smit (Dutch) and Donald Friend (Australian) in more recent years. Most of these western artists had very little influence on the Balinese until the post-World War Two period, although some accounts over-emphasise the western presence at the expense of recognising Balinese creativity.

On his first visit to Bali in 1930, the Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias noted that local paintings served primarily religious or ceremonial functions. They were used as decorative cloths to be hung in temples and important houses, or as calendars to determine children’s horoscopes. Yet within a few years, he found the art form had undergone a “liberating revolution.” Where they had once been severely restricted by subject (mainly episodes from Hindu mythology) and style, Balinese artists began to produce scenes from rural life. These painters had developed increasing individuality.

This groundbreaking period of creativity reached a peak in the late 1930s. A stream of famous visitors, including Charlie Chaplin and theanthropologists Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead, encouraged the talented locals to create highly original works. During their stay in Bali in mid 1930s, Bateson and Mead collected over 2000 paintings, predominantly from the village of Batuan, but also from the coastal village of Sanur. Among western artists, Spies and Bonnet are often credited for the modernization of traditional Balinese paintings. From the 1950s onwards Baliese artists incorporated aspects of perspective and anatomy from these artists.  More importantly, they acted as agents of change by encouraging experimentation, and promoted departures from tradition. The result was an explosion of individual expression that increased the rate of change in Balinese art. The 1930s styles were consolidated in the 1950s, and in more recent years have been given the confusing title of “modern traditional Balinese painting”. The Ubud painters, although a minority amongst the artists working in the 1930s, became the representatives of the new style thanks to the presence of the great artist Gusti Nyoman Lempad in that village, and to the patronage of the traditional rulers of Ubud. The key points of the Ubud Style included a concentration on the depiction of daily Bali life and drama; the change of the patron of these artists from the religious temples and royal houses to western tourists/collectors; shifting the picture composition from multiple to single focus. Despite the adoption of modern western painting traditions by many Balinese and Indonesianpainters, “modern traditional Balinese painting” is still thriving and continues by descendants/students of the artists of the pre-war modernist era (1928-1942). The schools of modern traditional Balinese painting include: Ubud, Batuan, Sanur, Young Artist and Keliki schools of painting.

Modern traditional painting

The pre-War modernisation of Bainese art emanated from three villages: Ubud, where Spies settled, Sanur on the southern coast, and Batuan, a traditional hub of musicians, dancers, carvers and painters. The artists painted mostly on paper, though canvas and board were also used. Often, the works featured repetitive clusters of stylized foliage or waves that conveyed a sense of texture, even perspective. Each village evolved a style of its own. Ubud artists made more use of open spaces and emphasized human figures. Sanur paintings often featured erotic scenes and animals, and work from Batuan was less colorful but tended to be busier.

Ubud painting


Mask Dancer, A.A. Gde Anom Sukawati (b. 1966), Acrylic on canvas

Ubud has been the center of art for centuries, with the surrounding royal houses and temples as the main patrons. Prior to the 1920s, traditional wayang style paintings dominated the subject matters, although Jean Couteau believes that both secular and religious theme paintings have long been co-existing in the form of the expression of the unity of opposites (Rwabhinneda in Balinese belief system).

Under the patronage of the Ubud royal family, esepcially Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, and with Rudolf Bonnet as a chief consultant, the Pitamaha Art Guild was founded in 1936 as a way to professionalise Balinese painting. Its mission was to preserve the quality of Balinese Art in the rush of tourism to Bali. The board members of Pitamaha met regularly to select paintings submitted by its members, and to conduct exhibitions throughout Indonesia and abroad. Pitamaha was active until the beginning of the second world war in 1942.The subject matters shifted from religious narration to Balinese daily life. Ubud artists who were members to Pitamaha came from Ubud and its surrounding villages; Pengosekan, Peliatan and Tebasaya. Among them were: Ida Bagus Made Kembeng of the village of Tebesaya and his three sons Ida Bagus Wiri, Ida Bagus Made and Ida Bagus Belawa; Tjokorda Oka of the royal house of Peliatan; Anak Agung Gde Sobrat, Anak Agung Gde Meregeg, I Dewa Putu Bedil, I Dewa Nyoman Leper, Anak Agung Dana of Padangtegal; I Gusti Ketut Kobot, I Gusti Made Baret, I Wayan Gedot, Dewa Putu Mokoh of Pengosekan; and I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. Artists from other areas also participated, including Pan Seken from Kamasan, I Gusti Made Deblog from Denpasar, and some of the Sanur artists.

Pitamaha has been by the descendents of the Ubud artists, and has now come to be identified with the period of the 1930s. Noted Ubudian artists include I Ketut Budiana, I Nyoman Meja, I Nyoman Kayun, A.A. Gde Anom Sukawati, I Gusti Agung Wiranata, and Ida Bagus Sena

Batuan painting

The Batuan school of painting is practiced by artists in the village of Batuan, which is situated ten kilometers to the South of Ubud. The Batuan artisans are gifted dancers, sculptors and painters. Leading artists of the 1930s included I Nyoman Ngendon, and a number of members of leading brahman families, including Ida Bagus Made Togog. Other major Batuan artists from the pre-modernist era include I Dewa Nyoman Mura (1877-1950) and I Dewa Putu Kebes (1874-1962), who were known as sanging; traditional Wayang-style painters for temples’ ceremonial textiles.

The western influence in Batuan did not reach the intensity it had in Ubud. According to Claire Holt, the Batuan paintings were often dark, crowded representations of either legendary scenes or themes from daily life, but they portrayed above all fearsome nocturnal moments when grotesque spooks, freakish animal monsters, and witches accosted people. This is particularly true for paintings collected by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson during their field studies in Bali in 1936 to 1939.Gradations of black to white ink washes laid over most of the surface, so as to create an atmosphere of darkness and gloom. In the later years, the designs covered the entire space, which often contributed to the crowded nature of these paintings.


The Wheel of Life, I Ketut Murtika (b. 1952), Gouache on canvas

Among the early Batuan artists, I Ngendon (1903-1946) was considered the most innovative Batuan School painter.[4] Ngendon was not only a good painter, but a shrewd business man and political activist. He encouraged and mobilized his neighbours and friends to paint for tourist consumption. His ability in portraiture played an important role in teaching his fellow villagers in Batuan more than Spies and Bonnet.The major Batuan artists from this period were: I Patera (1900-1935), I Tombos (b. 1917), Ida Bagus Togog (1913-1989), Ida Bagus Made Jatasura (1917-1946), Ida Bagus Ketut Diding (1914-1990), I Made Djata (1920-2001), and Ida Bagus Widja (1912-1992). The spirit of the Pitamaha period is still strong and continues by contemporary Batuan Artists such as I Made Budi , I Wayan Bendi (b. 1950), I Ketut Murtika (b. 1952), I Made Sujendra (b. 1964), and many others. I Made Budi and I Wayan Bendi paintings capture the influence of tourism in modern life in Bali. They place tourists with their camera, riding a motorbike or surfing in the midst of Balinese traditional village activities. The dichotomy of modern and traditional Balinese life are contrasted starkly in harmony. I Ketut Murtika ( still paints the traditional story of Mahabharata and Ramayana in a painstaking details with subdued colors. His painting of the Wheel of Life viewed from the Balinese beliefs system shows his mastery of local legends and painstaking attention to details. I Made Sujendra, an art teacher at a local art school, depicts old Balinese folklore with a modern eye and a high degree of individuality. Rejecting excessive decoration and relying on the composition itself, I Made Sujendra is successful in depicting tensions in his work and the old Batuan style of 1930s.

Sanur painting

Unlike Ubud and Batuan which are located in the inland of Bali, Sanur is a beach resort. Sanur was the home of the well known Belgian artist Le Mayeur de Mepres, who lived with a Balinese wife (Ni Polok) and had a beach house in Sanur beach.

Tourists in 1930s came to Bali on cruise ships docked in Sanur and made side trips to Ubud and neighboring tourist sites. Its prime location provided the Sanur artist with ready-access to Western tourists who frequented the shop of the Neuhaus Brothers who sold balinese souvenirs and tropical fishes. Neuhaus brothers became the major art dealer of Sanur paintings. The beach around Sanur, full of outriggers and open horizon, provided local artists with a visual environment different from the Ubud and Batuan, which are located in the hinterland.The playful atmosphere pervades the Sanur paintings, and are not dictated by the religious iconography[5]. It is lighter and airy than those of Batuan and Ubud with sea creatures, erotic scenery and wild animals drawn in rhythmic patterns; often in an Escher-like manner.Most early works were black and white ink wash on paper, but at the request of Neuhaus, latter works were adorned with light pastel colors often added by other artists specializing in coloring a black and white drawings. Their name code is often found at the margin.

The Sanur school of painting is the most stylized and decorative among all modern Balinese Art. Major artists from Sanur are I Rundu, Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai, I Soekaria, I Poegoeg, I Rudin, and many others. I Rudin, who started to paint in mid 1930s, draws simple balinese dancers in the manner of the drawings of Miguel Covarrubias.

Young Artist painting

The development of the Young Artist School of painting is attributed to the Dutch artist Arie Smit, a Dutch soldier who served during the 2nd world war and decided to stay in Bali. In the early 1960s, he came across children in the village of Penestanan near Tjampuhan drawing on the sand. He encouraged these children to paint by providing them with paper and paints.

Their paintings are characterized by “child-like” drawings that lacks details and bright colors drawn with oil paint on canvas. By 1970s, it attracted around three hundred peasant painters to produce paintings for tourists. In 1983, the National Gallery of Malaysia held a major exhibition on the Young Artist paintings from the collection of Datuk Lim Chong Kit.


The snake tree, I Wayan Pugur, Gouache on paper

The painting by I Wayan Pugur (b. 1945) shown here, was executed when he was 13 years old and was exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1964, as part of a traveling exhibition in the United States in 1964-1965. This early drawing, executed on paper, exhibits the use of bright colors and a balanced composition. The drawing space is divided into three solid-color areas: dark blue, bright yellow and magenta in between showing the influence of the Wayang painting tradition. The leaves of the large tree with the snakes show the juxtaposition of complementary colors. The faces of the figures were drawn with no details, yet the snakes have eyes and long tongues.

Major artists from the Young Artist School are I Wayan Pugur, I Ketut Soki, I Ngurah KK, I Nyoman Londo, I Ketut Tagen, I Nyoman Cakra, Ni Ketut Gampil, I Nyoman Mundik, I Wayan Regog and many others.
tKeliki miniature painting


Rajapala, I Lunga, Watercolor on paper

In the 1970s, miniature paintings emerged from Keliki, a small village north of Ubud, led by a local farmer I Ketut Sana.[6] The sizes range from as small as 2 x 3 inch to as large as 10 x 15 in. I Ketut Sana learnt to paint from I Gusti Nyoman Sudara Lempad from Ubud and from I Wayan Rajin from Batuan. He combined the line drawing of Lempad and the details of the Batuan school. Every inch of the space is covered with minute details of Balinese village life and legends drawn in ink and colored with watercolor. The outcome is a marriage between the youthfulness of the Ubud school and the details of the Batuan School. The Keliki artists proud with their patience to paint minute details of every objects meticulously that occupy the drawing space.

Illustrated on the left is a drawing by I Lunga (c. 1995) depicting the story of Rajapala. Rajapala is often referred to as the first Balinese voyeur or “peeping Tom.” According to the story, Rajapala catches sight of a group of celestial nymphs bathing in a pool. He approaches stealthily, and without their knowledge, steals the skirt (kamben) of the prettiest, Sulaish. As her clothing contains magical powers enabling her to fly, the nymph cannot return home. Rajapala offers to marry her. She accepts on the condition that she will return to heaven after the birth of a child. With time, she and Rajapala have a healthy young son. Years pass, and one day, Sulaish accidentally discovers her clothing hidden in the kitchen. Understanding that she has been tricked, she takes leave of her husband and son and goes back to her heavenly abode.

Major artists from the Keliki Artist School are Sang Ketut Mandera (Dolit) I Ketut Sana, I Wayan Surana, I Lunga, I Wayan Nengah, I Made Ocen, I Made Widi, I Wayan Lanus, Ida Bagus Putra, Sang Nyoman Kardiana (Sabuh) and many others.

Wood carving


Woodcarving of an elderly Balinese lady (art deco style), c. 1930s

Like the Balinese painting, Balinese wood carving underwent a similar transformation during the 1930s and 1940s. The creative outburst emerged during this transition period is often attributed to western influences. In 2006, an exhibition at the Nusantara Museum, Delft, the Netherlands Leidelmeijer traced the Art Deco influence on Balinese wood carving. Leidelmeijer further conjectured that the Art Deco influence continued well into 1970s.

During the transition years, the Pitamaha Artist Guild was the prime mover not only for Balinese paintings, but also for the development of modern Balinese wood carvings. I Tagelan (1902-1935) produced an elongated carving of a Balinese woman from a long piece of wood that was given by Walter Spies, who originally requested him to produce two statues. This carving is in the collection of the Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud.


Dewi Gadru by Ida Bagus Tilem, c. 1950s

Other masters of Balinese modernist woodcarving were: Ida Bagus Nyana, Tjokot (1886-1971)and Ida Bagus Tilem.

Ida Bagus Nyana was known for experimenting with mass in sculpture. When carving human characters, he shortened some parts of the body and lengthened others, thus bringing an eerie, surreal quality to his work. At the same time he didn’t overwork the wood and adopted simple, naive themes of daily life. He thus avoided the “baroque” trap, unlike many carvers of his day.

Tjokot gained a reputation for exploiting the expressive quality inherent in the wood. He would go into the forest to look for strangely shaped trunks and branches and, changing them as little as possible, transforming them into gnarled spooks and demonic figures.

Ida Bagus Tilem, the son of Nyana, furthered Nyana and Tjokot’s innovations both in his working of the wood and in his choice of themes. Unlike the sculptors from the previous generation, he was daring enough to alter the proportions of the characters depicted in his carving. He allowed the natural deformations in the wood to guide the form of his carving, using gnarled logs well suited for representing twisted human bodies. He saw each deformed log or branch as a medium for expressing human feelings. Instead of depicting myths or scenes of daily life, Tilem took up “abstract” themes with philosophical or psychological content: using distorted pieces of wood that are endowed with strong expressive powers. Ida Bagus Tilem, however, was not only an artist, but also a teacher. He trained dozens of young sculptors from the area around the village of Mas. He taught them how to select wood for its expressive power, and how to establish dialogue between wood and Man that has become the mainstream of today’s Balinese woodcarving.

Museums holding important Balinese painting collection

There are many museums throughout the world holding a significant collection of Balinese paintings.

  • Europe: In the Netherlands, the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and the Ethnographic Museum in Leiden, Museum Nusantara in Delft have a large number of paintings from the Wayang period (before 1920s) and the pre-War period (1920s – 1950s). Notably, the Leiden Ethnographic Museum holds the Rudolf Bonnet and Paul Spies collection. In Switzerland, the Ethnographic Museum in Basel holds the pre-War Batuan and Sanur paintings collected by Schlager and the artist Theo Meier.
  • Asia: In Japan, the Asian Art Museum in Fukuoka holds an excellent Balinese collection after the Second World War. The Singapore National Art Museum has significant collection of pre-War and post-War Balinese paintings.
  • Australia: The Australian Museum, Sydney, has a major collection of Kamasan and other traditional paintings assembled by the Anthropologist Anthony Forge. The National Gallery of Australia in Sydney holds some Balinese works.
  • Indonesia: the Museum Sana Budaya in Yogyakarta and Museum Bentara Budaya in Jakarta. In Bali, pre-war Balinese drawings are at the holdings of the Bali Museum in Denpasar and Center for Documentation of Balinese Culture in Denpasar. In addition, there are four major museums in Ubud, Bali, with significant collections: Museum Puri Lukisan, Agung Rai Museum of Art, Neka Museum and Museum Rudana.
  • America: Duke University Museum in Durham, American Museum of Natural History in New York, United Nations in New York.

Sundanese Wedding Ceremony

Sundanese Wedding Ceremony

Some common practices from a traditional Sundanese (West Java) wedding ceremony:

Welcoming the bridegroom ceremony

  • The bridegroom is welcomed with the umbul-umbul, a decoration indicating that a wedding ceremony is going on, which is also auspicious for the bridegroom.

  • The welcome is followed by a procession of ladies with candles. They pray to the Almighty seeking His blessing in order that there maybe no hindrances in the ceremony.
  • The showering of flowers by the dancers is symbolic of a fragrant future for the couple.
  • The umbrella held over the couple’s heads, apart from serving as a protective symbol, indicates esteem and respect.
  • The mother of the bride gives the bridegroom a garland of flowers indicating his acceptability to the family.
  • The mother of the bride gives the bridegroom a keris, a hidden message to the son-in-law not to be disheartened while toiling for his family.

Wedding ceremony

The bride and groom are seated next to each other with a selendang or veil covering their heads indicating two people but having one mind.

The bride and groom bend forward and kiss the knees of their parents, called sungkem, asking for forgiveness and blessing and reassuring them that they will continue to serve their parents.


This ceremony should take place in front of the sawer or gargoyle. The water flowing from the gargoyle indicates the continuous flow of priceless parental love for their children.

The bride and groom are seated under an umbrella in front of the entrance to the house. There are two singers, a man and a woman, who sing on behalf of the parents. The song, called kidung, advises the couple to treat each other well, living in harmony, and serves as a prayer to the Almighty to bless the couple.

Then the sawer is showered on the couple. It consists of:

Turmeric rice Rice is a sign of prosperity and yellow stands for everlasting love

Coins Reminding the couple to share their wealth with the less fortunate

Candy Indicates sweetness and fragrance throughout their marriage

A betel nut set near the couple is a reminder that their different customs should not spoil their harmonious marriage.

Nincak Endog

This is the egg breaking ceremony. The couple are required to stand facing each other in front of the entrance of the house. The bridegroom stands outside the entrance and the bride is inside the entrance.

This ceremony is conducted by the lady in charge of the bridal makeup and serves as advice to the couple for their happiness and long wedded life.

The following items are used:

a. Harupat, seven broomsticks, are burnt and thrown away symbolizing the discarding of bad habits which endanger one. s married life.

b. An egg is broken, indicating that the groom will be the master of the house henceforth and the bride will serve him.

c. Ajug, seven candles, represents the direction the couple should follow to ensure a happy married life.

d. Elekon, hollow bamboo, which symbolizes emptiness.

e. Kendi, an earthen water jug filled with water, which stands for peace.

f. In the past, unmarried girls were not allowed to cross over logs. Here the bride is made to cross the log as a sign that she will always obey her husband.

The lady in charge of the ceremony gives the bride the harupat. The groom lights the harupat with the ajug. Then the flames are put out and the sticks are broken and thrown away. After the groom breaks the egg with his right foot, the bride cleans the groom’s foot with the water from the kendi. Then the bride throws the kendi to break it.

Then the couple are escorted to the house. The bride crosses the log and enters the house while the groom remains outside to perform the buka pintu ceremony.

Buka Pintu

This is a dialogue between the bride and groom in front of the house. However, they are represented by a couple who also sings for them. First, the couple knocks three times on the door, then enters into a dialogue whereby permission is requested by the groom to enter the bride’s house. The bride consents on the condition that the groom will say the syahadat (confirming his Moslem faith). The song also solemnizes the importance of the nuptial ceremony.

Huap Lingkung

Symbolic of the last time the parents of the bride will feed their daughter. This is also the first dish prepared by the daughter in her new home. The dish consists of turmeric sticky rice with yellow spiced chicken on top of it.

The mothers of the bride and groom release two white doves – symbols of peace and happiness.

Patarik-Tarik Bakakak

The couple are given a barbecued spiced chicken. On hearing the word . go. from the lady conducting the ceremony, the couple has to pull the chicken apart. The one who gets the larger piece supposedly will bring in the larger share of the family fortune. This ceremony also serves to remind the couple to encourage each other to work hard together to gain good fortune.

Many thanks to website : http://www.expat.or.id and http://www.webway.com.au  for all the pictures and story.

Thanks and Wish you all the best for Steven & Desy

Karo Batak Wedding Ceremonies

Karo Batak Wedding Ceremonies

It’s not often that we, as foreigners in Indonesia, are given the opportunity to delve deeply into the cultural traditions of traditional Indonesian ceremonies. Recently, Hartmuth “Heinz” Kathmann and his lovely bride, Rose Merry Ginting, gave me that opportunity. Merry’s father, Rakatta Ginting, served as our cultural guide as we discussed and looked at hundreds of pictures which document the traditional ceremonies in their recent marriage.

Heinz gives traditional uis nipis textiles to family representatives in the ceremony which will ensure his entrance into the Brahmana clan.

While each of the major Batak societies/tribes (Alas-Kluet, Angkola, Dairi, Karo, Mandailing, Pakpak, Simalungun, Sipirok, and Toba) are related, they have distinctive languages, customs and cultures. The traditional Batak homelands surround Toba Lake in North Sumatra. Merry Ginting is from the Ginting marga (clan) of the Karo Batak ethnic group, and her family ensured that the necessary wedding customs were followed, even though she was marrying a German national.

You Must Become a Batak, Heinz!

The primary obstacle to Heinz and Merry’s marriage was the Batak tradition that a Batak can only marry another Batak, so Heinz had to be accepted into a Batak marga. Since tradition further stipulates that a man may not marry a woman from his own clan, Batak grooms have to search among the other 451 marga for a wife. Fortunately, non-Batak grooms can be adopted by a willing Batak clan and thereby marry a Batak wife according to tradition.

The marga is an extensive, complex system of relationships between Batak family members within the clan and between clans. Each person, dependent on their relationship to others through parentage, sibling relationships or marriage has their own place in the relationships between clans, represented by a specific term. Unweaving this web of relationships is difficult at best and near to impossible without hours of study of the various ways in which people are considered to be related.

In Heinz’s case, the adoptive family was the Brahmana clan of Merry’s father’s younger sister. Heinz’s adoptive parents held a special ceremony to discuss and get their permission for this adoption from their related clan members. All clan members must agree, as the newly admitted son becomes their relative as well.

As the Batak are patrilineal, the discussions were held between the male elders of the Brahmana family groupings which would be affected by Heinz’s joining the marga. The family grouping representatives involved in this ceremony were the:

  1. 1. puang kalimbubu – the prospective mother in-law’s clan (Tarigan)
  2. 2. kalimbubu – the prospective mother’s clan (Ginting)
  3. 3. sembuyak – the prospective father’s clan (Brahmana)
  4. 4. anak beru – all the women in the father’s clan (Brahmana women)

Heinz sat with these family grouping representatives, and gave the symbolic gifts of a uis nipis (traditional ulos textile), a parang (dagger) and money, in this case a symbolic amount of Rp 12,000. The men accepted the uis nipis, and put the textile over their shoulders.

When the traditional uis nipis textile is placed around Heinz's neck, he is accepted into the Brahmana clan.

Discussions followed where Heinz and the family representatives discussed his joining the clan. At the successful conclusion of the discussions, the Brahmana family gave Heinz a uis nipis as a symbol of his acceptance into the clan. The textile was placed over his shoulders, and Heinz was then considered a son of his new parents and a full member of the Brahmana clan, with full rights and obligations, except the right of inheritance. As he was now a Batak, he could proceed with marrying Merry.

Requesting Merry’s Hand in Marriage

Heinz and his new clan members took part in two traditional ceremonies (pesta adat) to seek permission to wed Merry, the ngembah belo selambar (which means to bring a sirih leaf) and the nganting manuk (which means to bring a chicken). Heinz’s new family went with him to the Ginting household to conduct these traditional ceremonies. As the prospective groom, the cost of the ceremonies was Heinz’s responsibility.

The first step in many Batak Karo ceremonies is the giving of kampil to family members

Ngembah belo selambar opens with the giving of the traditional gift of kampil. As dictated by tradition, Heinz gavekampil to his sembuyak, kalimbubu, puang kalimbubu, anak beru and perbibin (maternal aunts).

The kampil is a closed basket, which is woven from pandanus leaves. It contains the ingredients for smoking and betel chew . tobacco, matches or a lighter, sirih and other betel chew ingredients and small food items. The gifts are consumed as friendly conversation is enjoyed. When finished, the basket is returned empty and the ceremony can begin.

Discussions ensue between the two families . to determine if everyone is in agreement with the marriage, what the dowry will be, where the wedding will be held, how many people will be invited, what the wedding will cost, and who will pay for it. Men and women are separated during these discussions, with the men making all the decisions.

Following the successful conclusion of marriage negotiations in the ngembah belo selambar, either on the same day or soon thereafter, the nganting manuk ceremony is held for the symbolic payment of the dowry. Traditionally, the prospective groom’s family brings a chicken to the bride’s house, as the name of the ceremony implies. Nowadays, the chicken is usually accompanied by a traditional meal.

The dowry is symbolic of the replacement cost of the loss of the female to the clan. The amount is determined by the bride’s family and is the same for all the clan’s women who get married. In the Ginting clan the amount is Rp 286,000. If this sum sounds small, note that it was much lower before the monetary crisis, only Rp 120,000. The actual dowry will be paid at the wedding reception to members of the bride’s family.

The bride's family examines the dowry given to them by the groom and his family.

As most Karo Batak are Christian, a wedding ceremony in the church follows the two traditional ceremonies so the church can bless the union. The newlyweds usually dress up in western wedding finery, with an elaborate white dress and suit/tuxedo. The church ceremony must also be followed by a visit to the Civil Registry office to ensure the government legally registers the marriage.

The Wedding Reception

Anyone who has ever been to a Karo Batak wedding reception can see that the Karo sure know how to enjoy a wedding party, which they refer to as the Kerja si
mbelin (pesta besar
), or big party. The Karo bring new meaning to the adage, “Eat, drink and be merry” as a good time is had by all attending family and friends.

The Procession

The wedding party enters the reception hall in a long processional with the bride and groom leading the way, followed by the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents and then the close family members, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The groom’s anak beru throw rice in front of the couple, to symbolize fertility.

- The bride and groom enter the reception hall in a procession followed by their families.

As the procession reaches the center of the hall, it stops and the family members separate with the bride’s family sitting on woven mats (tikar) on one side of the hall, and the groom’s family sitting on mats on the other side of the hall, facing each other. One distinctive feature of a Karo Batak wedding reception is that guests are seated on mats, not on chairs.

The anak beru of the bride’s family cross the room to offer traditionalkampil gifts to the groom’s family as a sign of respect, though they don’t necessarily have to partake of the contents during the reception.

After the dowry is paid, the bride and groom are dance the landek for their guests in the middle of the reception hall

The women of the bride’s and groom’s family then discuss the dowry that was agreed upon, and the groom’s family pays the dowry to the members of the bride’s family present at the ceremony. Even if they each receive Rp 500 or Rp 1,000, they feel compensated!

The groom’s family formally states that since they’ve paid the dowry they would like to assume possession of the bride. Both families stand and escort the bride and groom to meet in the center of the room, all doing the traditional landek dance. Since the dowry has been paid and accepted, according to Batak tradition the couple is now considered married.

The families return to their respective sides of the room and the bride and groom are left dancing in the center of the room, with all eyes on the newlyweds. They dance thelandek and sing to entertain their guests. As they sing and dance, family and friends come forward and put money in a basket at their feet as wedding gifts. The money is a modern custom and is not required by traditional customs (adat).

As the bride and groom sing and dance for their guests, people come forward and drop money into the basket as a gift to the happy couple.

When the newlyweds finish entertaining their guests, they are accompanied by their families who dance the landek down the hall to the stage (pelaminan) where the bride and groom sit in a highly decorated setting with both sets of parents. In this instance, since Heinz was adopted into the Brahmana marga, his adoptive parents were onstage, as well as his actual brother and sister who flew in from Germany for the festive occasion.


After the family members are seated, the speeches begin. The first speeches are given by representatives of the groom’s family, followed by the bride’s family representatives. Both begin with speeches from their sembuyak, then thekalimbubu, and finally the anak beru. The newlyweds descend from the stage and stand before the various family groups as they give them advice on marriage, and how to maintain good relations with their in-laws and other family members.

At Heinz and Family members give the newlyweds traditional textiles, which they wrap around the wedding couple as a symbol of togetherness and anticipated fertilityMerry’s reception the truly international flavor of the event led to speeches in Bahasa Indonesia, German, English, and of course the Batak Karo dialect.

As the various family groupings come forward and the representative gives the advice to the newlyweds, anyone within that family grouping who wants to give a gift to the couple comes forward and does so.

Presentation of the traditional luah berebere gifts to the newlyweds from the bride's maternal uncle's family.

Traditionally, close family members give textiles to the couple. These include uis nipis, batik and other textiles, which are closely wrapped around the couple’s shoulders, bringing them close together, symbolizing the togetherness of marriage. A batik selendang is often wrapped around the couple as a symbol of hoped for fertility as the selendang will one day hold the children that will come from the union. These ritual gift exchanges between the bride-giving and bride-receiving sides of the families are believed to increase fertility in the marriage.

Another traditional gift is the luah berebere. These practical household items are given by the bride’s maternal uncle’s family (kalimbubu). They symbolize the setting up of the newlywed’s household. Traditionally, luah berebere includes: mattress, pillows, sheets, dishes, glasses, silverware, an oil lamp, rice and bowls. In addition to the practical items, food is given which must include one chicken egg and two live yellowish-color hens, which symbolize fertility for the new couple.

When the wedding reception is concluded tradition demands that the bride and groom must return to the groom’s family home and reside for four days and nights, without ever leaving the home for any reason. This practice dates back to ancient pre-Christian customs where the groom’s family prevented the possible kidnapping of a reluctant bride by a thwarted lover.

The elaborate ceremonies in a traditional Karo Batak wedding are filled with symbolic rituals and customs. These customs ensure the acceptance of the new union by their new families, establish the intricate relationships that will govern their lives and provide the opportunity for family members to extend advice and good wishes and give gifts to the happy couple. A Karo Batak wedding is a richly meaningful life-cycle event, enjoyed and celebrated by all the members of the families involved.

Traditional gifts, luah berebere, are given from the bride's maternal uncle's family - household essentials including lamps, dishes, mattress and more

Traditional Wedding Dress

As in all traditional Indonesian wedding ceremonies, the wearing of elaborate traditional clothing is required. Heavy ornamentation with accessories and layers of various fabrics utilize colors and designs which are highly symbolic to the Karo Batak.

Heinz Kathmann and Rose Merry Ginting in traditional Batak Karo wedding dress

The bride’s heavy headdress is called tudung gul. The groom’s hat is called bulang-bulang. The bride and groom are both adorned in a variety of gold accessories, called emas sertali. These include earrings, necklace and bracelets. While solid gold heirloom accessories are lent to young brides by their female relatives, many modern brides opt for gold-plated accessories, as they are much lighter to wear. The solid gold accessories can weigh over 2 1/2 kilograms.

The traditional Batak ulos textiles used in the wedding dress are all called uis nipis. However, they have different, special names when used in wedding dress, dependent on where they are worn on the body.

The uis nipis worn over Heinz’s shoulders was the one given him during the ceremony to enter the Brahmana marga and is called langge-langge. The bride is wearing a sarong songket Palembang, and over that a red uis nipis which is called ndawa when worn wrapped around the hips in the wedding costume. The black textile that is worn by both bride and groom is called julu.

by Danielle Surkatty

First published in Kem Chicks’ World in September 2001.

Note: Please note that Karo Batak wedding traditions vary, depending on the region that the person is from!

The Traditional Masks of Indonesia

The Traditional Masks of Indonesia


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . This stone mask from the pre-ceramic neolithic period dates to 7000 BCE and is probably the oldest mask in the world (Musée de la Bible et de la Terre Sainte) Papierkrattler masks at the Narrensprung 2005 Carnival parade, Ravensburg, Germany A mask is an article normally worn on the face, typically for protection, concealment,performance, or amusement. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial andpractical purposes. They are usually worn on the face, although they may also be positioned for effect elsewhere on the wearer’s body, so in parts of Australia giant totem masks cover the body, whilst Inuit women use finger masks during storytelling and dancing.


The word “mask” came via French masque and either Italian maschera or Spanish máscara. Possible ancestors are Latin (not classical)mascus, masca = “ghost”; Hebrew masecha= “mask”; Arabic maskharah مَسْخَرَۃٌ = “jester”, “man in masquerade“, maskhara مَسْخَرَ = “he ridiculed, he mocked”, masakha مَسَخَ = “he transformed” (transitive).

Masks in performance

Batak mask dance at a funeral feast in the Dutch East Indies, 1930s. Throughout the world masks are used for their expressive power as a feature of masked performance – both ritually and in various theatre traditions. The ritual and theatrical definitions of mask usage frequently overlap and merge but still provide a useful basis for categorisation. The image of juxtaposed Comedy and Tragedy masks are widely used to represent the Performing Arts, and specifically Drama. In ancient Rome the word persona meant ‘a mask’; it also referred to an individual who had fullRoman citizenship. A citizen could demonstrate his or her lineage through imagines, death masks of the ancestors. These were wax casts kept in a lararium, the family shrine. Rites of passage, such as initiation of young members of the family, or funerals, were carried out at the shrine under the watch of the ancestral masks. At funerals professional actors would wear these masks to perform deeds of the lives of the ancestors,[2] thus linking the role of mask as a ritual object and in theatre. Masks are a familiar and vivid element in many folk and traditional pageants, ceremonies, rituals and festivals, and are often of an ancient origin. The mask is normally a part of a costume that adorns the whole body and embodies a tradition important to the religious and/or social life of the community as whole or a particular group within the community. Masks are used almost universally and maintain their power and mystery both for their wearers and their audience.The continued popularity of wearing masks at carnival, and for children at parties and for festivals such as Halloween are good examples. Nowadays these are usually mass-produced plastic masks, often associated with popularfilms, TV programmes or cartoon characters – they are, however, reminders of the enduring power of pretence and play and the power and appeal of masks.

Ritual masks

Ritual masks occur throughout the world, and although they tend to share many characteristics, highly distinctive forms have developed. The function of the masks may be magical or religious; they may appear in rites of passage or as a make-up for a form of theatre. Equally masks may disguise a penitent or preside over important ceremonies; they may help mediate with spirits, or offer a protective role to the society who utilise their powers. Africa See also:African tribal masks There are a wide variety of masks used in Africa. In West Africa, masks are used in masquerades that form part of religious ceremonies enacted to communicate with spirits and ancestors. Examples are the masquerades of the Yoruba, Igbo and Edo cultures, includingEgungun Masquerades and Northern Edo Masquerades. The masks are usually carved with an extraordinary skill and variety by artists who will usually have received their training as an apprentice to a master carver – frequently it is a tradition that has been passed down within a family through many generations. Such an artist holds a respected position in tribal society because of the work that he or she creates, embodying not only complex craft techniques but also spiritual/social and symbolic knowledge.African masks are also used in the Mas or Masquerade of the Caribbean Carnival. Djolé (also known as Jolé or Yolé) is a mask-dance from Temine people in Sierra Leone. Males wear the mask, although it does depict a female. Fang mask used for the ngilceremony, an inquisitorial search for sorcerers. Wood, Gabon, 19th century. Many African masks represent animals. Some African tribes believe that the animal masks can help them communicate with the spirits who live in forests or open savannas. People of Burkina Faso known as theBwa and Nuna call to the spirit to stop destruction. The Dogon of Mali have complex religions that also have animal masks. Their three main cults use seventy-eight different types of masks. Most of the ceremonies of the Dogon culture are secret, although the antelope dance is shown to non-Dogons. The antelope masks are rough rectangular boxes with several horns coming out of the top. The Dogons are expert agriculturists and the antelope symbolizes a hard working farmer. Another culture that has a very rich agricultural tradition is the Bamana people of Mali. The antelope (calledChiwara) is believed to have taught man the secrets of agriculture. Although the Dogons and Bamana people both believe the antelope symbolises agriculture, they interpret elements the masks differently. To the Bamana people, swords represent the sprouting of grain. Masks may also indicate a culture’s ideal of feminine beauty. The masks of Punu of Gabon have highly arched eyebrows, almost almond-shaped eyes and a narrow chin. The raised strip running from both sides of the nose to the ears represent jewellery. Dark black hairstyle, tops the mask off. The whiteness of the face represent the whiteness and beauty of the spirit world. Only men wear the masks and perform the dances with high stilts despite the masks representing women. One of the most beautiful representations of female beauty is the Idia‘s Mask of Benin. It is believed to have been commissioned by a king of Benin in memory of his mother. To honor his dead mother, the king wore the mask on his hip during special ceremonies.The Senoufo people of the Ivory Coast represent tranquility by making masks with eyes half-shut and lines drawn near the mouth. The Temne of Sierra Leone use masks with small eyes and mouths to represent humility and humbleness. They represent wisdom by making bulging forehead. Other masks that have exaggerated long faces and broad foreheads symbolize the soberness of one’s duty that comes with power. War masks are also popular. TheGrebo of the Ivory Coast carve masks with round eyes to represent alertness and anger, with the straight nose to represent unwillingness to retreat. Today, the qualities of African art are beginning to be more understood and appreciated. However most African masks are now being produced for the tourist trade. Although they often show skilled craftsmanship, they nearly always lack the spiritual character of the traditional tribal masks. Oceania The variety and beauty of the masks of Melanesia are almost as highly developed as in Africa. It is a culture where ancestor worship is dominant and religious ceremonies are devoted to ancestors. Inevitably many of the mask types relate to use in these ceremonies and are linked with the activities of secret societies. The mask is regarded as an instrument of revelation, giving form to the sacred. This is often accomplished by linking the mask to an ancestral presence, and thus bringing the past into the present. As a culture of scattered islands and peninsulars Melanesian mask forms have developed in a highly diversified fashion, with a great deal of variety in their construction and aesthetic. In Papua New Guinea six metre-high totem masks are placed to protect the living from spirits; whereas the duk-duk and tubuan masks of New Guinea are used to enforce social codes by intimidation. They are conical masks, made from cane and leaves.North America A Cherokee ceremonial mask made of wood. Arctic Coastal groups have tended towards rudimentary religious practice but a highly evolved and rich mythology, especially concerning hunting. In some areas annual shamanic ceremonies involved masked dances and these strongly abstracted masks are arguably the most striking artifacts produced in this region. Inuit groups vary widely and do not share a common mythology or language. Not surprisingly their mask traditions are also often different, although their masks are often made out of driftwood, animal skins, bones and feathers. See also:Masks among Eskimo peoples Pacific Northwest Coastal indigenous groups were generally highly skilled woodworkers. Their masks were often master-pieces of carving, sometimes with movable jaws, or a mask within a mask, and parts moved by pulling cords. The carving of masks were an important feature of wood craft, along with many other features that often combined the utilitarian with the symbolic, such asshields, canoes, poles and houses. Woodland tribes, especially in the North-East and around the Great Lakes, cross-fertilized culturally with one another. The Iroquois made spectacular wooden ‘false face’ masks, used in healing ceremonies and carved from living trees. These masks appear in a great variety of shapes, depending on their precise function. Pueblo craftsmen produced impressive work for masked religious ritual, especially the Hopi andZuni. The kachinas, god/spirits, frequently take the form of highly distinctive and elaborate masks that are used in ritual dances. These are usually made of leather with appendages of fur, feathers or leaves. Some cover the face, some the whole head and are often highly abstracted forms. Navajo masks appear to be inspired by the Pueblo prototypes.In more recent times, masking is a common feature of Mardi Gras traditions, most notably in New Orleans. Costumes and masks (originally inspired by masquerade balls) are frequently worn by krewe members on Mardi Gras Day. Laws against concealing one’s identity with a mask are suspended for the day. ]Latin America Aztec mask ofXiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec-Aztec provenance Leather mask hand made by J. C. Velasquez Distinctive styles of masks began to emerge in pre-Hispanic America about 1200BC, although there is evidence of far older mask forms. In the Andes masks were used to dress the faces of the dead. These were originally made of fabric but later burial masks were sometimes made of beaten copper or gold, and occasionally of clay. For the Aztecs human skulls were prized as war trophies and skull masks were not uncommon. Masks were also used as part of court entertainments, possibly combining political with religious significance. In post-colonial Latin America pre-Columbian traditions merged with Christian rituals, and syncretic masquerades and ceremonies, such as All Souls/Day of the Deaddeveloped, despite efforts of the Church to stamp out the indigenous traditions. Masks remain an important feature of popular carnivals and religious dances, such as The Dance of the Moors and Christians. Mexico, in particular, retains a great deal of creativity in the production of masks, encouraged by collectors. Wrestling matches, where it is common for the participants to wear masks, are very popular and many of the wrestlers can be considered folk heroes. For instance, the popular wrestler El Santo continued wearing his mask after retirement, revealed his face briefly only in old age, and was buried wearing his silver mask.Asia India/Sri Lanka/Indo-China/Indonesia Various Balinese topengs (dance masks). Masked characters, usually divinities, are a central feature of Indian dramatic forms, many based on depicting the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Countries that have had strong Indian cultural influences – Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia (esp. Java andBali), Thailand, and Vietnam – have developed the Indian forms, combined with local myths, and developed their own characteristic styles. The masks are usually highly exaggerated and formalised, and share an aesthetic with the carved images of monstrous heads that dominate the facades of Hindu and Buddhisttemples. These faces or Kirtimukhas, ‘Visages of Glory’, are intended to ward off evil and are associated with the animal world as well as the divine. During ceremonies these visages are given active form in the great mask dramas of the South and South-eastern Asian region.China A Beijing OperaMask In China masks are thought to have originated in ancient religious ceremonies. Images of people wearing masks have been found in rock paintings along the Yangtze River. Later mask forms brings together myths and symbols from Shamanism and Buddhism.Shigong dance masks were used in shamanic rituals to thank the gods, while nuo dance masks protected from bad spirits. Wedding masks were used to pray for good luck and a lasting marriage, and “Swallowing Animal” masks were associated with protecting the home and symbolised the “swallowing” of disaster. Opera masks were used in a basic ‘Common’ form of opera performed without a stage or backdrops. These led to colourful facial patterns that we see in today’s Jingju (Beijing Opera). Korea Korean masks have a long tradition associated with shamanism and later in ritual dance. See also:Korean mask [edit]Japan Japanese masks are part of a very old and highly sophisticated and stylized theatrical tradition. Although the roots are in prehistoric myths and cults they have developed into refined art forms. The oldest masks are the gigaku. The form no longer exists, and was probably a type of dance presentation. The bugaku developed from this – a complex dance-drama that used masks with moveable jaws. The or noh mask evolved from the gigaku and bugaku and are acted entirely by men. The masks are worn throughout very long performances and are consequently very light. The mask is the supreme achievement of Japanese mask-making. masks represent gods, men, women, madmen and devils, and each category has many sub-divisions. Kyōgen are short farces with their own masks, and accompany the tragic nō plays. Kabuki is the theatre of modern Japan, rooted in the older forms, but in this form masks are replaced by painted faces.Inuit cultures Inuit groups vary widely and do not share a common mythology or language. Not surprisingly their mask traditions are also often different, although their masks are often made out of driftwood, animal skins, bones and feathers. See also:Masks among Eskimo peoples Middle East Golden masks excavated in Kalmakareh,Lorestan, Iran. First half of first Millennium BC. National Museum of Iran. Theatre in the Middle East, as elsewhere, was initially of a ritual nature, dramatising man’s relationship with nature, the gods, and other human beings. It grew out of sacred rites of myths and legends performed by priests and lay actors at fixed times and often in fixed locations. Folk theatre — mime, mask, puppetry, farce, juggling – had a ritual context in that it was performed at religious or rites of passage such as days of naming, circumcisions, and marriages. Over time some of these contextual ritual enactments became divorced from their religious meaning and they were performed throughout the year. Some 2500 years ago, kings and commoners alike were entertained by dance and mime accompanied by music where the dancers often wore masks, a vestige of an earlier era when such dances were enacted as religious rites. According to George Goyan, this practice evoked that of Roman funeral rites where masked actor-dancers represented the deceased with motions and gestures mimicking those of the deceased while singing the praise of his life (see Masks in Performance above). ]Europe Fools Meeting or Parade, Messkirch, Germany Masks are used throughout Europe, and are frequently integrated into regional folk celebrations and customs. Old masks are preserved and can be seen in museums and other collections, and much research has been undertaken into the historical origins of masks. Most probably represent nature spirits, and as a result many of the associated customs are seasonal. The original significance would have survived only until the introduction of Christianity which then incorporated many of the customs into its own traditions. In the process their meanings were also changed so, for example, old godsand goddesses were, literally, demonised and were viewed as mere devils, subjugated to theAbrahamic God. Many of the masks and characters used in European festivals belong to the contrasting categories of the ‘good’, or ‘idealised beauty’, set against the ‘ugly’ or ‘beastly’ and grotesque. This is particularly true of the Germanic and Central European festivals. Another common type is the Fool, sometimes considered to be the synthesis of the two contrasting type of Handsome and Ugly.The oldest representations of masks are animal masks, such as the cave paintings of Lascaux in theDordogne in southern France. Such masks survive in the alpine regions of Austria and Switzerland, and may be connected with hunting or shamanism, and tend to be particularly associated with the New Year and Carnival festivals. The debate about the meaning of these and other mask forms continues in Europe, where monsters, bears, wild men, harlequins, hobby horses and other fanciful characters appear in carnivals throughout the continent. It is generally accepted that the masks, noise, colour and clamour are meant to drive away the forces of darkness and winter, and open the way for the spirits of light and the coming of spring. Another tradition of European masks developed, more self-consciously, from court and civic events, or entertainments managed by guilds and co-fraternities. These grew out of the earlier revels and had become evident by the 15th century in places like Rome, Venice and Nice, where they developed as entertainments to enliven towns and cities. Thus the Maundy Thursday carnival in St Marks Square in Venice, attended by the Doge and aristocracy also involved the guilds, including a guild of maskmakers. There is evidence of ‘commedia dell’arte’ inspired Venetian masks and by the late 16th century the Venetian Carnival began to reach its peak and eventually lasted a whole ‘season’ from January until Lent. By the 18th century it was already a tourist attraction, Goethe saying that he was ugly enough not to need a mask. The carnival was repressed during the Napoleonic Republic, although in the 1980s its costumes and the masks aping the C 18th heyday were revived.It appears other cities in central Europe were influenced by the Venetian model. During the Reformation many of these carnival customs began to die out in Protestant regions, although they seem to have survived in Catholic areas despite the opposition of the ecclesiastical authorities. So by the 19th century the carnivals of the relatively wealthy bourgeois town communities, with elaborate masques and costumes, existed side-by-side with the ragged and essentially folkloric customs of the rural areas. Although these civic masquerades and their masks may have retained elements drawn from popular culture, the survival of carnival in the 19th century was often a consequence of a self-conscious ‘folklore’ movement that accompanied the rise of nationalism in many European countries.See also:Venetian mask In the beginning of the new century, in 19 August 2004, the Bulgarian archeologist Georgi Kitov discovered a 673g golden mask of a Thracianking in the burial mound “Svetitsata” near Shipka, Central Bulgaria. It is a very fine piece of workmanship made out of massive 23к gold. Unlike other masks discovered in the Balkans (of which 3 are in Republic of Macedonia and two in Greece), it is now kept in the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia. It is considered to be the mask of the Thracian king Teres.

Masks in theatre

Masks play a key part within world theatre traditions, particularly non-western theatre forms. They also continue to be a vital force within contemporary theatre, and their usage takes a variety of forms. In many cultural traditions the masked performer is a central concept and is highly valued. In the western tradition it is sometimes considered a stylistic device which can be traced back to the Greeks and Romans. In some Greek masks the wide and open mouth of the mask contained a brass megaphone enabling the voice of the wearer to be projected into the large auditoria. In medieval Europe masks were used in mystery and miracle plays to portray allegorical creatures, and the performer representing God frequently wore a gold or gilt mask. During the Renaissance masques and ballet de cour developed – courtly masked entertainments that continued as part of ballet conventions until the late eighteenth century. The masked characters of the Commedia dell’arte included the ancestors of the modern clown. In contemporary western theatre the mask is often used alongside puppetry to create a theatre which is essentially visual rather than verbal, and many of its practitioners have been visual artists. Masks are an important part of many theatre forms throughout world cultures, and their usage in theatre has often developed from, or continues to be part of old, highly sophisticated, stylized theatrical traditions. See also Masks in ritual.

Contemporary theatre Puppets found in the Bread & PuppetMuseum in Glover, Vermont Masks and puppets were often incorporated into the theatre work of European avant-garde artists from the turn of the nineteenth century. Alfred Jarry, Pablo Picasso, Oskar Schlemmer and other artists of the Bauhaus School, as well as surrealists and Dadaists, experimented with theatre forms and masks in their work. In the 20th Century many theatre practitioners, such as Meyerhold, Edward Gordon Craig, Jacques Copeau and others in their lineage, attempted to move away from Naturalism. They turned to sources such as Oriental Theatre (partically Japanese Noh theatre) and commedia dell’arte,both of which forms feature masks prominently. Edward Gordon Craig (1872–1966) in A Note on Masks (1910) proposed the virtues of using masks over the naturalism of the actor.[24] Craig was highly influential, and his ideas were taken up byBrecht, Cocteau, Genet, Eugene O’Neill – and later by Arden, Grotowski and Brook and others who “attempted to restore a ritualistic if not actually religious significance to theatre”.Copeau, in his attempts to “Naturalise” the actordecided to use mask to liberate them from their “excessive awkwardness”. In turn, Copeau’s work with masks was taken on by his students including Etienne Decroux and later, via Jean Daste, Jacques Lecoq.Lecoq, having worked as movement director at Teatro Piccalo in Italy, was influenced by the Commedia tradition. Lecoq met Amleto Satori, a sculptor, and they collaborated on reviving the techniques of making traditional leather Commedia masks. Later, developing Copeau’s “noble mask”, Lecoq would ask Satori to make him masques neutre (the neutral mask). For Lecoq, masks became an important training tool, the neutral mask being designed to facilitate a state of openness in the student-performers, moving gradually on to character and expressive masks, and finally to “the smallest mask in the world” the clown’s red-nose. One highly important feature of Lecoq’s use of mask, wasn’t so much its visual impact on stage, but how it changed the performers movement on stage. It was a body-based approach to mask work, rather than a visually led one.Lecoq’s pedagogy has been hugely influential for theatre practitioners in Europe working with mask and has been exported widely across the world. This work with masks also relates to performing with portable structures and puppetry. Students of Lecoq have continued using masks in their work after leaving the school, such as in John Wright‘s Trestle Theatre. In America, mask-work was slower to arrive, but the Guerrilla Theatre movement, typified by groups such as the San Francisco Mime Troupeand Bread and Puppet Theatre took advantage of it. Influenced by modern dance, modern mime, Commedia dell’arte and Brecht such groups took to the streets to perform highly political theatre. Peter Schumann, the founder of Bread and Puppet theatre, made particular use of German Carnival masks.Bread and Puppet inspired other practitioners around the world, many of whom used masks in their work. In the US and Canadia these companies include In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater of Minneapolis; Arm-of-the Sea Theatre fromNew York State; Snake Theater from California; and Shadowland Theatre of Toronto. These companies, and others, have a strong social agenda, and combine masks, music and puppetry to create a visual theatrical form. Another route masks took into American Theatre was via dancer/choreographers such as Mary Wigman, who had been using masks in dance and had emigrated to America to flee the Nazi regime. In Europe Schumann’s influence combined with the early avant-garde artists to encourage groups like Moving Picture Mime Show andWelfare State (both in the UK). These companies had a big influence on the next generation of groups working in visual theatre, including IOU and Horse and Bamboo Theatre, who create a theatre in which masks are used along with puppets, film and other visual forms, with an emphasis on the narrative structure.

Functional masks

Masks are also familiar as pieces of kit associated with practical functions, usually protective. There has been a proliferation of such masks recently but there is a long history of protective armour and even medical masks to ward off plague. The contrast with performance masks is not always clear-cut. Ritual and theatrical masks themselves can be considered to be practical, and protective masks in a sports context in particular are often designed to enhance the appearance of the wearer. Medical Some masks are used for medical purposes:

  • Oxygen mask, a piece of medical equipment that assists breathing
  • Anesthetic mask
  • Burn mask, a piece of medical equipment that protects the burn tissue from contact with other surfaces, and minimises the risk of infection
  • Surgical mask, a piece of medical equipment that helps to protect both the surgeon and patient from acquiring diseases from each other
  • Face shield, to protect a medical professional from bodily fluids
  • Pocket mask or CPR mask, used to safely deliver rescue breaths during a cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest

[Protective Protective filter mask worn by NYPD officer Breathing masks fed from long hoses Protective masks are pieces of kit or equipment worn on the head and face to afford protection to the wearer, and today usually have these functions:

  • Providing a supply of air or filtering the outside air.
  • Protecting the face against flying objects or dangerous environments, while allowing vision.

In Roman gladiatorial tournaments masks were sometimes used. From archaeological evidence it is clear that these were not only protective but also helped make the wearer appear more intimidating. In medieval Europe and in Japan soldiers and samurai wore similarly ferocious-looking protective armour, extending to face-masks. In sport the protective mask will often have a secondary function to make the wearer appear more impressive as a competitor. Before strong transparent materials such as polycarbonate were invented, visors to protect the face had to be opaque with small eyeslits, and were a sort of mask, as often in mediaeval suits of armour, and (for example)Old Norse grímr meant “mask or visor”. The people of Bali, Indonesia, perform numerous traditional dances. The dance most popular with tourists is the Barong & Rangda, a battle between good and evil. Barong is a strange creature, part shaggy dog, part lion, propelled like a circus horse by two dancers and the symbol of all things good. Barong wears a wooden mask like a large animal head ,beautifully carved and brightly coloured in red, white, black and gold. It is topped by a crown extending outwards to the sides of the head. The widow-witch Rangda is the queen of death and devourer of children. She practices the destructive forces of black magic and all things evil. Her mask is dark and foreboding, with a protruding red and gold tongue of fire. Of course Barong always triumphs over evil Rangda and saves all the unfortunate beings from stabbing themselves to death! mask-01.jpg (221524 Byte)mask-06.jpg (176745 Byte)mask-02.jpg (175991 Byte) mask-05.jpg (183618 Byte)mask-03.jpg (142753 Byte)mask-09.jpg (248332 Byte) mask-17.jpg (231182 Byte)mask-10.jpg (179570 Byte)mask-08.jpg (244367 Byte)mask-11.jpg (194217 Byte) mask-14.jpg (197693 Byte)mask-07.jpg (204070 Byte)mask-13.jpg (118530 Byte) mask-12.jpg (155710 Byte)mask-18.jpg (190351 Byte)mask-16.jpg (169800 Byte) Two older wooden masks from Java Balinese Mask


——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-Exotic Beautiful Balinese Barong Mask from Indonesia. The Barong deity comes to earth during Balinese Hindu ceremonies and enters the body of a follower. The possesed goes into a trance and performes the exotic movements of the Barong dance. This exotic mask will make a great addition to any collection or a unique gift. Measures 7.5″ inches width x 8″ inches height.————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

This——- beautiful one of a kind hand carved batik mask is awesome. The colors and velvety soft feel of this mask will make a great addition to any collection or give it to somebody who has everything. Measures 8 1/2 inches width x 11 1/2 inches height.——————————————————-

Hand carved and painted wood Buddha mask. Measures 13

inches wide x 20″ inches height.———————————————————————————————————————————-


Traditional Dress/Wedding Dress Of Tribes in Indonesia

Wedding Dress Javanese Solo Basahan :

Wedding Dress Javanese ala Mataram :

Wedding Dress from Madura :

Wedding dress from Bali :

Wedding Dress from Ternate :

From Aceh.

Adat Batak Karo


Adat Simalungun


Pakaian Adat Padang

Sumatra Barat


From Melayu – Siak – Riau


Pakaian Adat Melayu Tanjung Pinang (1)


Pakaian Pengantin Adat Bangka Belitung

Paklian Adat Riau – Batam


Pakaian Adat Riau (1)


Pakaian Adat Tanjung Pinang (2)

Pakaia Adat Riau (2)


Pakaian Adat Riau (3)


Pakaian Adat Riau Bengkalis


Pakaian Adat Riau Indragiri


Pakaian Adat Riau.(Above, Below)

Pakaian Adat Bengkulu-Sumatra


Pakaian Adat Lampung


Pakaian Adat


Pakaian Adat Petinggi Datuak Datuak   Minangkabau


Pakaian Wanita Payakumbuh, Sumatra Barat

Pakaian Adat Minagngkabau Sumatra Barat

Pakaian Pengantin Baju Roki Minangkabau

Pakaian Adat Palembang Sumatra Selatan

————————————————————————————————Pakaian Adat Betawi

Pakaian Adat Sunda

Pakaian Adat Jawa


Pakaian Tari Jawa Tengah

Wedding Dress Singosari Kingdom


Wedding Dress Kediri  Kingdom East Java

Wedding Dress Majapahit Empire :


Kebaya Jawa :

Pakaian Adat Bali


Pakaian Adat Madura :


Pakaian Adat Kalimantan Barat


Pakaian Adat

Dayak Kalimantan Timur

Exotic Girl from Dayak Kalimantan.


Pakaian Adat Kalimantan Selatan :

Pakaian Adat Kalimantan Tengah

Pakaian Adat Kalimantan Tengah

Pakaian Adat Kalimantan Timur

Pakaian Adat Sulawesi Utara :


Pakaian Adat Sulawesi Tengah :


Pakaian Adat Sulawesi Tenggara :


Pakaian Adat Sulaweswi Selatan


Pakaian Adat Bugis – Sulawesi Selatan

Pakaian Adat Sumba


Pakaian Adat Kupang – Timor Island

PakaianAdat Pulau Rote :

Pakaian Adat Maluku :

Pakaian Adat Papua

Pakaian Adat Papua :