Panji story is a set of classic Java tales. The tales contain of heroism and love stories that usually played by two main characters. Those main characters commonly use panji mask during the shows.
On panji tales, mask is use as a non-verbal communication form that describes the character of the actors. The characters can be shown through the nose, eye, or lip mask form. As Tri Handoyo, an artist and also mask sculptors said, “The character of the actors can be seen via the mask. The mask design represents the antagonist, protagonist, animal character, or else.” He also mentioned that Kedung Monggo, one of panji tales version has 76 characters that are divided into four personality, which are antagonist, protagonist, humorous, and animal role.
“On protagonist role, the mask has gabahan eye, pangotan nose, and also there are flower and leave. On the other side, the antagonist mask has a round eye, fanged, and there are animal motive such as garuda, elephant, and dragon as a symbol of power on the mask,” said Tri Handoyo.
For other two masks, funny and animal, the feature are quiet simple. The role of those masks are usually played in humorous tales, such as abdi dalem characters.
Color also relate to the role of the panji mask. There are 5 basic color that is used for the mask, which are red, white, yellow, green, and black. Each colors represent the characters of the mask. “Red refers to courageous, white is sacred, yellow means joy, green is fortune, and black refers to wisdom. However, the antagonist or protagonist role of the panji mask not specified by the color, but its form,” voiced Tri Handoyo.