NEGARA, – Wayang Wong art in Jembrana develops in Griya Penida, Anyar hamlet, Batuagung. This art is one of the ancestral sacred arts passed down through hundreds of years. The Wayang Wong troupe with old masks struggled to still exist in the midst of the onslaught of modernization.

This mask drama with religious and sacred nuances remains to maintain the old style aged hundreds of years. From the beginning, the performance of this Wayang Wong is not for commercial use but for religious rituals (yadnya) taking segments of the Ramayana epic. Besides, the mask drama is not played in full because it requires players up to 50 people and the story is long.

Senior figure of Griya Penida, Batuagung village, Ida Bagus Putra, recently said that such art is estimated to have developed since the ancestors came to Batuagung in 1800. Aside from the 50 unique masks, the group also still maintains a set of gamelan, including gender, drums and cymbals.

For a long time, the sacred masks have not been used and are stored in the wooden box (container of puppets) in Griya Penida. Due to lack of regeneration, the art closely related to the arrival of senior figures of Griya Penida had vacuumed for several years. Finally, disaster happened and psychical things starting from flash floods, diseases to long drought were experienced by residents of the hamlet and the old village in Jembrana. After that, it was traced psychically by senior figures, and they got revelation if the disaster arose because there were 50 heirlooms of masks in unused wooden box.

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It was true when the box was opened, where some masks were found to have lost. Two masks, namely the Maruti and Tualen were found by a resident being submerged in a niche of Tukadaya River crossing the hamlet. The masks were known to belonging to the Griya Penida (family) so they were returned.

Ultimately, the masks gathered again in the box. Since then, there has been a desire to pay attention to, care for and perform the masks according to the existing order. Today, the box is stored in the family shrine of Griya Penida. After collecting the masks, the calamities experienced in succession gradually recovered and returned to normal. “Performance is only made in particular time, telling the Ramayana epic along with ape troops, so there are about 50 kinds of masks,” explained the IB Putra.

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Each wayang wong mask has different design from the others. Puppet figures in the Ramayana include the Maruti, Sugriwa, Subali, Anggada, Nila, Rahwana, Kumbakarna, demon troops, Merdah, Sangut and Delem. Other than by the family of Griya Penida, it is also often performed by the artists from outside the griya (Brahmin priest’s house).

The masks are also given ritual procession every Tumpek Wayang. When playing the puppet drama, the griya family will recruit players from the community outside the griya at Batuagung village as well as the elders from outside the griya.

Since this is classified into sacred art, wayang wong is performed during ceremonies such as ngenteg linggih, ngaben and other ritual processions. As the stories are quite time-consuming and involving colossal players, the performance only takes the segment of medeeng or follows the ngebeji procession. Meanwhile, it is rarely performed with full stories but only staged at certain times.

Specialty of the Wayang Wong lies in the stories, dances and masks with the unique and distinctive shape. The mask has magical energy and is made sacred. The mask is estimated to have existed since the arrival of senior figures of Griya Penida or hundreds of years ago. “If traced, our family came to Jembrana in 1800. Possibly, after that the masks already existed,” he explained.

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In addition to the masks, another heritage aged hundreds of years old is a wooden rice barn having 12 pillars located in the courtyard of Griya’s family shrine. Coloring material used to decorate the mask is also retained in its original order to maintain the original color of these masks by rubbing cane pieces, with the aim of making the color of the mask dull into bright. Psychically, it is considered sacred and no one dares to tamper the masks.

Only in the rumbing section is made of leather, often polished with paint. At certain times like day of worship, the family members of griya also often find the mask box generating noises. Moreover, they are mutually colliding like there is a struggle in the box. On that account, the family of Griya Penida will not be arbitrarily performing the wayang wong to avoid the fading of sacredness and divine inspiration of the art. (Surya Dharma/balipost)



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