Our 2nd day in Yogyakarta we went to watch the Shadow Puppet Show locally known as Wayang Kulit. I wanted to absorb the as much as I can the local culture to understand more about the local culture and enjoy the ambience.
The City :
Yogyakarta is a city on the island of Java in Indonesia. It is renowned as a centre of education (Kota Pelajar), classical Javanese fine art and culture such as batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry and puppet shows.
Yogyakarta City is the capital of the Yogyakarta Special Region and was the Indonesian capital during the Indonesian National Revolution from 1945 to 1949, with Gedung Agung as the president’s office. One of the districts in Yogyakarta, Kotagede, was the capital of the Mataram Sultanate between 1575 and 1640.
The city is named after the Indian city of Ayodhya from the Ramayana epic. Yogyameans “suitable, fit, proper”, and karta, “prosperous, flourishing” (i.e., “a city that is fit to prosper”).
Its population was 388,627 inhabitants at the 2010 census and its built-up (or metro) area was home to 4,010,436 inhabitants across two cities (Yogyakarta and Magelang) and 65 districts across Sleman, Klaten, Bantul, Kulon Progo and Magelang regencies. Yogyakarta-Magelang and Surakarta are being agglomerated in several years.
Because of its urbanisation and modernisation, Yogyakarta has a very high HDI ranking nationally, being one of the highest in Indonesia as well; at 0.837 (or “very high”), on which it could be considered as a “developed” city.
Wayang Kulit :
Wayang, also known as Wajang, is a form of puppet theatre art found in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, wherein a dramatic story is told through shadows thrown by puppets and sometimes combined with human characters. The art form celebrates the Indonesian culture and artistic talent; its origins are traced to the spread of Hinduism in the medieval era and the arrival of leather-based puppet arts called Tholu bommalata from southern India.
Wayang refers to the entire dramatic show. Sometimes the leather puppet itself is referred to as wayang. Performances of shadow puppet theatre are accompanied by a gamelan orchestra in Java, and by gender wayang in Bali. The dramatic stories depict mythologies, such as episodes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana, the Mahabharata as well as local adapations of cultural legends. Traditionally, a wayang is played out in a ritualized midnight-to-dawn show by a dalang, an artist and spiritual leader; people watch the show from both sides of the screen.
UNESCO designated wayang kulit, a shadow puppet theatre and the best known of the Indonesian wayang, as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanityon 7 November 2003. In return for the acknowledgment, UNESCO required Indonesians to preserve their heritage. Wayang has also been a significant historical art form in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
More photos of Yogyakarta here.
Our group trip photos in Instagram.