QUOTE(Astromantic @ Oct 28 2006, 01:04 AM) [snapback]2431787[/snapback]
I thought wayang kulit is Indonesian, it came from Java and Java is a freaking long way to Malaysia. I fu-king don't get you guys... Taking culture and land from another country. What, haven't you got one yourself? Aren't you satisfied with the whole Malay, Chinese and Indian culture diversity? I've also discovered some of our (note: INDONESIAN's) dances and costumes were being taken by Malaysians and I saw it with my own eyes in the ASEAN cultural show here in the Netherlands, the Malaysians danced with Acehnese costume.
Wayang Kulit in Malaysia is native only to the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, most notably in Kelantan state & northern Trengganu.
The Malaysian Wayang Kulit shares similarities with South Thai's Malay Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) given its close geographic location & same ethnicity.
Wayang Kulit in Malaysia served as a satire of everyday local folks lives, & given Muslim profiles had long veered away from Hinduistic elements, such as Mahabrata or Ramayana epics, unlike Indonesian wayang kulit that still embraced some of the storylines.
Malaysian cultures, especially that of Malays are a potpouri. Sure, some of the arts or even folk dances shared similarities & origin, but both Malaysia & Indonesia shared common history, ethnicities, cultures, languages, religion & so forth. So both countries have rights to claim ownership to the same art.
To say Wayang Kulit as an exclusive Indonesian art is foolhardy, as much as if Malaysia to claim Kuda Kepang as exclusively Malaysian identity.
QUOTE(Astromantic @ Oct 29 2006, 10:42 AM) [snapback]2435093[/snapback]
I just want to know how wayangs in Java can go to Malaysia which is a totally different kingdom back then (AFAIK).
As I said above, Malaysian Wayang Kulit shared commonality with Southern Thai's shadow puppet shows (wayang kulit too, Thai version).
In fact, most Wayang Kulit characters used in Kelantan were made in South Thailand, & greatly prized.
Since there are a lot of Javanese immigrants as far back as the late 1800s in Johor, it is just normal to bring a piece of their culture to this foreign shore. Just like the wayang kulit in faraway Suriname.
Malaysian Wayang Kulit did not originated from Java. Instead, it shared commonality with Southern Thai's Wayang Kulit.
The only Javanese art visible in Johor culture due to Javanese immigrants in those late 1800s would be Kuda Kepang that has been recognised as part of Johor culture itself & need to be preserved.
Malaysian Wayang Kulit info from allmalaysia.info site<note: Only Wayang Kulit Siam (Siam means Thai) & Wayang Gedek (by Malaysian Thais) are still existed in Malaysia>
A spellbinding medium for storytelling, the Wayang Kulit is a traditional theatre form that brings together the playfulness of a puppet show, and the elusive quality and charming simplicity of a shadow play.
Its origin remains a mystery, though it appears to have a strong Javanese and Hindu influence. Today, it is spread out, in various forms and guises, across Asia - from Turkey and China to Indonesia and of course, Malaysia.
Here, it is most popular in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, particularly in Kelantan, the heartland of Wayang Kulit, where it took root more than 250 years ago. Today, however, urbanisation and modern entertainment have led to a decline in its popularity.
There used to be four main varieties of the form in this country: the Wayang Kulit Siam of Kelantan; the Wayang Gedek, performed by the Thai communities of Kedah and Perlis; the Wayang Kulit Jawa, performed by the Javanese communities in Selangor and Johor; and the Wayang Kulit Melayu, performed by the Javanese communities of Terengganu. Today, only the first two are performed.
All of the varieties of this unique theatre form employ the principle of light and shadow to bring to life its characters, depicted by intricately carved puppets. The flat two-dimensional puppets are carved, then painted, by hand out of cow or buffalo hide.
Each puppet, a stylised exaggeration of the human shape, is given a distinctive appearance and not unlike its string puppet cousins, has jointed "arms". There may be as many as 40 puppet characters, all with different traits and mannerisms, in a performance.
One man is responsible for breathing life into this array of characters: the master puppeteer and storyteller known as the Tok Dalang.
The task of the Tok Dalang requires immense skill and endurance, for not only does he control the movements of the puppets, he also has to provide each one with a distinguishable voice, and at times, to sing, all while "conducting" the accompanying traditional music ensemble by tapping a rattle (known as the kechrek) with his feet.
During a typical performance, which can last several few hours, the Tok Dalang sits behind a semi-transparent white cloth which acts as a screen. The puppet figures are silhouetted onto the screen with an oil lamp as the light source.
The stories of the wayang kulit are traditionally based on the Hindu epics of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Usually, the Tok Dalang begins by introducing the main characters; first the puppet storyteller, followed by Maharaja Wana (Rawana), Sri Rama (Rama), Siti Dewa (Sita), the Laksamana and the court jesters, Pak Dogol and Wak Long.
Then he tells the story by moderating his voice, and controlling the varied movements, to suit each and every character. For instance, the gruff-voiced demon king Maharaja Wana moves erratically and aggressively, while the court jesters scratch their heads and speak in shrill voices.
The shadow play is invariably accompanied by a gamelan orchestra, one that consists of about 10 to 30 musicians.
Traditionally, the Wayang Kulit is staged during religious festivals and important occasions, such as weddings, births and circumcision. Primarily, it was taken as an entertainment medium. However, it also served to impart moral values, as well as to pass down folklore and historical tales.
Like many other art forms in Malaysia, it was believed to have strong ties to the spirit world. It used to be customary to make food offerings to the spirits during and after a performance, but this practice is now frowned upon.
In fact, in 1990, when the conservative political party Parti SeIslam Malaysia (PAS) came into power in Kelantan, the staging of Wayang Kulit was prohibited altogether, for its un-Islamic elements.
However, the practitioners of this dying art form have adapted, ensuring its continuous survival. Today, a new brand of Wayang Kulit has emerged. Instead of the traditional tale of Hikayat Sri Rama - the Malay adaptation of the Hindu epic Ramayana - the stories now are based on local folklore, history, popular comedies, current issues and secular tales.
Even the traditional forms of the puppets have evolved. The new puppets can take up any role unlike the original puppets which are fixed characters. Also, modern elements such as buildings and cars have been incorporated.
To keep up with the times, today's Tok Dalangs do not only use the Kelantanese dialect but also mainstream Bahasa Malaysia, a few English words, the occasional Bollywood song, and even familiar tunes from TV serials to spice up their performance. The best thing is they always improvise as they perform, so audiences don't get a fixed dialogue or narration with every show.
All their efforts have not gone to waste. The "modernisation" of the Wayang Kulit has since changed the minds of the Kelantan State Government which has since lifted the ban. The art form is slowly picking up again but whether it would achieve the same kind of recognition as in days gone by remains to be seen.