Knowing Wayang Jawa Timuran

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Wayang, or shadow, is one of Indonesia’s art heritage that is already stated as world heritage by Unesco. Almost all the Indonesian has their own Wayang, based on the local story around the society. In Java itself, people know two types of Wayang, Wayang Kulon (around Central Java) and Wayang Wetan (around East Java). Can you recognize the different between the Wayangs?

At glance, there is no different between Wayang Wetan and Wayang Kulon. But if you see closely, Wayang Wetan has various in form, characters, and perform technique with Wayang Kulon. Those peculiars are made by the local culture behind them. Wayang Kulon was based on keratonan (the Java monarch) culture, including the story and the puppeteer language. While the other was ground from public culture, so basically they have more rustic story, language, and technique.

To easily your way, we take Gatotkaca Lair (the birth of Gatotkaca) as an example. The story of Gatotkaca Lair can be performed in two ways, either Wayang Wetan or Wayang Kulon. The contrast between them are in story and the Wayang form. In Wayang Wetan, the story of Gatotkaca Lair will be more unsophisticated in language than Wayang Kulon. Thus, the Gatotkaca in Wayang Kulon has a black-face color, while it will be a red-face other Gatotkaca.

Wayang Wetan has 4 differerent sub-styles: Trowulan style, Ngawi-Ngajuk style, Banyuwangi style, and Surabaya-Jombang-Mojokert style. All of those sub-styles have various style in technique and language of the plays.

This post is also available in: Indonesian

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