How Hinduism came to southeast Asia

When the term is used to refer to kinds of puppet theatre, sometimes the puppet itself is referred to as wayang. There is no evidence that wayang existed before Hinduism came to southeast Asia sometime in the first century CE. However, there very well may have been indigenous storytelling traditions that had a profound impact on the development of the traditional puppet theatre. The first record of a wayang performance is from an inscription dated 930 CE, which says “si Galigi mawayang,” or “Sir Galigi played wayang”.

From that time till today it seems certain features of traditional puppet theatre have remained. Galigi was an itinerant performer who was requested to perform for a special royal occasion. At that event we know he performed a story about the hero Bima from the Mahabharata. Hinduism arrived in Indonesia from India even before the Christian era, and was slowly adopted as the local belief system. Sanskrit became the literary and court language of Java and later of Bali. The Hindus changed the Wayang (as did the Muslims, later) to spread their religion, mostly by stories from the Mahabharata or the Ramayana.

Later this mixture of religion and wayang play was praised as harmony between Hinduism and traditional Indonesian culture. On Java, the western part of Sumatra and some smaller islands traditionalists continued to play the old stories for some time, but the influence of Hinduism prevailed and the traditional stories either fell into oblivion or were integrated into the Hinduistic plays. The figures of the wayang are also present in the paintings of that time for example the roof murals of the courtroom in Klungkung, Bali.

They are still present in traditional Balinese painting today. Wayang today is both the most ancient and most popular form of puppet theatre in the world. Hundreds of people will stay up all night long to watch the superstar performers, dalang, who command extravagant fees and are international celebrities. [pic] Types of Wayang Wayang Kulit [pic] Wayang Golek [pic] Wayang Beber [pic] Wayang Wong (Wayang Orang) [pic] Wayang Karucil or Wayang Klitik [pic] Major Wayang Stories Plots are taken mainly from the Indian Epics, the Ramayan and the Mahabharata The Mahabharata pic] The Mahabharata, is the greatest, longest and one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, The main story of the Mahabharata describes problems of succession to the throne. Two brothers, Dhritarastra and Pandu are heirs to the throne of Astinapura. Dhritarastra is the older, but he is blind, so Pandu (who is an albino) rules instead. Dhritarashtra has 100 sons, the Kauravas; Pandu has 5 sons known as the Pandavas. After Pandu dies, the younger generation cannot agree on which group is to rule. The Pandavas are more popular, since they are just, brave, etc.

They are:? Yudhisthira, the oldest, the embodiment of justice; Bhima, extremely powerful and strong; Arjuna, very handsome, with supernatural strength; and Nakula and Sahadewa, the twins. All the Pandavas are in fact descended from the gods. (Yudisthira from Dharma, Arjuna from Indra, Bhima from Bayu and Nakula and Sahadewa from the twin Aswin gods. )? The Kauravas, headed by the eldest son, Duryodhana, are mean, tricky, etc. They trick the Pandavas out of their share of the Kingdom in a dice game (in which they cheat with the help of their uncle, Sakuni). After losing the dice game, the Pandavas have to go into exile in the forest for 12 years, and spend another year in disguise, after which they return to claim their kingdom. ?The Kauravas refuse to yield, and there is a terrible battle, ? the Bharatayuddha, in which the Kauravas are all killed. One of the Pandavas’ allies is Krishna (actually an incarnation of the god Vishnu) whose participation insures their victories. The Ramayana [pic] Comprising 24,000 verses in seven cantos, the epic contains the teachings of the very ancient Hindu sages.

One of the most important literary works of ancient India, it has greatly influenced art and culture in the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia, with versions of the story also appearing in the Buddhist canon from a very early date. The story of Rama has constantly been retold in poetic and dramatic versions by some of India’s greatest writers and also in narrative sculptures on temple walls. It is one of the staples of later dramatic traditions, re-enacted in dance-dramas, village theatre, shadow-puppet theatre and the annual Ram-lila (Rama-play).

Rama, prince of Ayodhya, won the hand of the beautiful princess Sita, but was exiled with her and his brother Laksmana for 14 years through the plotting of his stepmother. In the forest Sita was abducted by Ravana, and Rama gathered an army of monkeys and bears to search for her. The allies attacked Lanka, killed Ravana, and rescued Sita. In order to prove her chastity, Sita entered fire, but was vindicated by the gods and restored to her husband. After the couple’s triumphant return to Ayodhya, Rama’s righteous rule (Ram-raj) inaugurated a golden age for all mankind.

Main Characters of the Ramayana • Dasaratha – King of Ayodhya (capital of Kosala), whose eldest son was Rama. Dasaratha had three wives and four sons = Rama, Bharata, and the twins Lakshmana and Satrughna. • Rama- Dasaratha’s first-born son, and the upholder of Dharma (correct conduct and duty). Rama, along with his wife Sita, has served as role models for thousands of generations in India and elsewhere. Many Hindus regard Rama as an incarnation of the god Vishnu. • Sita- Rama’s wife, the adopted daughter of King Janak.

Sita was found in the furrows of a sacred field, and was regarded by the people of Janak’s kingdom as a blessed child. • Bharata- Rama’s brother by Queen Kaikeyi. When Bharata learned of his mother’s scheme to banish Rama and place him on the throne, he put Rama’s sandals on the throne and ruled Ayodhya in his name. • Hanuman- A leader of the monkey tribe allied with Rama against Ravana. Hanuman has many magical powers because his father was the god of the wind. Hanuman’s devotion to Rama, and his supernatural feats in the battle to recapture Sita, has made him one of the most popular characters in the Ramayana. Ravana- The 10-headed king of Lanka who abducted Sita. • Kaushlay- Dasaratha’s first wife, and the mother of Rama. • Lakshmana- Rama’s younger brother by Dasaratha’s third wife, Sumitra. When Rama and Sita were exiled to the forest, Lakshmana followed in order to serve. Elements of Wayang DALANG [pic] A dalang has nine voices for the main figures, as well as the typical language of each one; rengep (to involve completely), to keep the performance alive; enges (emotion), to create interest in the characters and nvolve and move the audience, for instance, during a dialogue between lovers; tutug (eloquence), to recite prescribed dialogues or pagedongan (traditional, fixed explanations); banyol (comedy), to  make the audience laugh; sabet (flow, wave), to handle the puppets correctly, and properly distinguish between their movements, especially during fight scenes; kawiraja (kawi refers to the old Javanese mode of speech, raja means ‘prince’),

A dalang also needs to observe the following courtly prohibitions: he may not change the form of a performance once it is recorded in the pakem (handbooks of the court); he may not show any preference for a character; he may not show himself during a performance, or speak out of turn; he may not focus criticism on anyone, or anger his audience; he may not make uncouth jokes; he must make sure that the performance lasts for the correct duration and that each aspect of the performance lasts the appropriate time. The gunungan (gunung, mountain) or kayon (forest) is a representation of the ancient Tree motif originating from India. This consist of two parts: a mountain and a tree. The Tree motif is rendered as a combination of two different trees: the fig tree rooted in heaven; and the earthbound lotus tree rising from the waters.

The former, placed above, has implanted its root in the top of the stem of the tree-shaped lotus. The lotus is the very symbol of life springing from the water. The celestial fig tree represents ‘creative breath’ or fire, which is as essential in creating life as the water’s essence. In the Javanese gunungan the lotus part can assume an hourglass form, with a small building with a pair of closed doors, or that of a lake or pot filled with water. Guardians stands on both sides of the stronghold. Their task is to guard treasures, particularly the mount Meru (heavenly mountain), and the liquid elixir of life. A pair of huge wings flank the upper half.

The shape of these wings may actually be derived from lotus leaves or other vegetation. The gate building with closed doors can be understood as female, whereas the tree represents the male. Together and united they form life. The gunungan is placed in the centre of the screen before the drama begins, separating the opposed groups of characters that lie to the right and left of the dalang. The meditation undertaken by the dalang before the performance seeks a train of associations leading from the gods of the Hindu pantheon to the kayon. During the performance, the gunungan is the backdrop with which time and space are delineated, and it determines the atmosphere. Gamelan

Gamelan music is an integral part of all cultural activities in Java such as wayang kulit (leather puppets) performance, court dance, uyon-uyon (symphony orchestra performance), etc. There are two kinds of laras (tuning) in gamelan, namely slendro (comparable to minor key in Western music) and Pelog (major key). A complete set of gamelan consist of two sets of different instruments of Slendro and Pelog, such as: lendro and Pelog, such as: 1. Kendang (double ended drum beaten by hands)- It is a leading instrument. The pengendang (drumer) is the conductor of the gamelan orchestra. There are five (5) different sizes of kendang from 20 cm to 45 cm. 2. Saron- A glockenspiel with bronze bar struck with wooden mallet. There are three kinds; Saron Barung, Saron Peking, Saron Demung. 3.

Bonang Barung- A double row of bronze kettles resting on a horizontal frame, played with two long stick bound with red cord at the striking end. 4. Bonang Panerus–smallest member of the bonang group. Twelve bronze pots in two rows of six located in square openings in rectangular teakwood frame, suspended by string threaded through channels carved into frame. 5. Slentem- Thin bronze bars suspended over bamboo resonating chambers, struck with a padded disc on the end of a stick. 6. Gender- Similar to slentem with more bronze keys and smaller bamboo chamber, struck with two disc-shaped hammers. 7. Gambang- Wooden bars laid over a wooden frame struck with two sticks of supple buffalo horn, ending with a small, round, padded disc. 8.

Gong- Each slendro and pelog set had three gongs. Two big gongs (Gong Ageng) and one gong Suwukan about 90 cm, made from bronze, suspended on a wooden frame. It marks the end of the largest phrase of the melody. 9. Kempul- Smaller gongs, marks a smaller phrase. In each slendro and pelog set, there are 6 (six) or 10 (ten) kempuls. 10. Kenong-Smaller gongs lay horizontally on crossed cord, inside a wooden frame. A complete set of kenong in each slendro and pelog consist of 10 (ten) kenongs. 11. Ketug- The kenong player also plays it smaller kenong, marks subdivisions of phrases. 12. Clempung- A string instrument, each slendro and pelog set needs one clempung. 13.

Siter-Smaller cemplung, each slendro and pelog set needs one siter 14. Suling- It is a flute, each slendro and pelog set, needs one suling. 15. Rebab- A two stringed viol, the same as slendro and pelog. 16. Keprak and Kepyak- Needed for gamelan to accompany dances. 17. Bedug- It is a very big drum. Wayang in Society The ancient art of wayang kulit remains popular till today. Not only is it a form of entertainment, it also carries religious significance in Javanese society. Performed during familial and community rituals, such as weddings, circumcisions, births, harvest festivals and village purifications from malevolent spirits, wayang is looked upon as a display of honour.

In a global context, the wayang kulit is also renowned, designated by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003. -The End- Bibliography: • http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Wayang • http://discover-indo. tierranet. com/wayang. html • http://www. semarweb. com/wayang. html ———————– [pic] [pic] Wayang kulit which means shadow puppets which are ofter found in Java and Bali in Indonesia, are without a doubt the best known of the Indonesian wayang. Kulit means skin, and refers to the leather construction of the puppets that are carefully chiselled with very fine tools and supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods.

They are manipulated behind a white screen with a backlight, so the attendance can see them as shadow puppets. Wayang Kulit was already established in the East Javanese kingdoms one thousand years ago. Wayang Golek is a Sundanese traditional puppet from West Java, Indonesia. Made of wood albasiyah. Carved and painted in great detail and to wear clothes. All made by hand (handicrafts). Played by one person, called Dalang. The puppeteer manipulates a lot of character puppet voice, head, hands and body in motion, so it looks alive. The puppets are held high above the puppeteer’s heads and the rods are worked from below. In modern Western puppetry these days, the style is to work the puppets from behind, as in tabletop puppetry.

Made from wood, wayang golek puppets are much like marottes, in that the body of the puppet sits on a long rod – operated from below remember – and the tips of each articulated hand has a rod attached too. In this way, the puppeteer (dalang) can move three rods; one for each arm, and one for the main body. In fact, the rod to the body actually runs up into the head, allowing the puppeteer to make the puppet look from side to side and so on. One of some kinds of wayang in East Java is Wayang Beber. This kind of wayang is neither made of wood nor leather, but paintings drawn on scrolled sheets of bark paper. Every scene in the story is painted on a piece of paper in rotation.

The performer (Dalang) gives a sign, the gamelan orchestra (or a musician with a violin-like instrument) begins to play and the Dalang unrolls a picture related to the story. Then, speaking and singing, he narrates the story in more detail. In this manner, in the course of the evening he unrolls several pictures. The pictures are shown one at a time and are successively unrolled. Each picture represents a story or part of a story. Wayang wong also known as Wayang orang (literally human wayang) is a type of Javanese dance theatrical performance with themes taken from episode of Ramayana or Mahabharata. The term “wayang wong” comes from the two words “wayang” meaning shadow and “wong” meaning man. Wayang wong has fixed patterns of movement and costume:

For male performers: • Alus: very slow, elegant and smooth movement. • Gagah: a more masculine and powerful dance movement, used commonly for the roles of strongly built kshatriyas, soldiers and generals. • Kambeng: a more powerful and athletic dance, used for the roles of Bima, Antareja, and Ghatotkacha. • Kalang kinantang: falls somewhere between alus and gagah, danced by tall, slim dancers in the roles of Kresno or Suteja. • Kasar: a coarse style, used in portraying evil characters such as Rakshasa, ogres and demons. • Gecul: a funny court jester and commoners, portraying ponokawan and cantrik.