Tuesday, 15 July 2014

JAKARTA SPOTLIGHT: Wayang Museum - Preserve The Nation's Culture Heritage

Jakarta, July 5, 2014

Museum Wayang © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Jakarta as a vibrant city offers a wide-ranged choice of activities and places to be enjoyed. One of the rarity offered to residents of Jakarta and tourist is strolling at museum which also becomes a respite from malls mushrooming this beloved city. Wayang Museum becomes one of the most recommended one.

Wayang Museum occupies one of old Dutch-colonial building located in Fatahillah square (known as Kota Tua square). This two-story building was donated by H. Probo Sutedjo to DKI Jakarta provincial government in September 2003 under suggestion and advice from former governor, H. Ali Sadikin. Through the prasasti (inscriptions) in the garden inside this building, we could also know that previously this building had been occupied as a church named "De Oude Holandsche Kerk".

A display of wayang golek  representing one of stage in Ramayana grand tale © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Wayang Kulit display © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Wayang Museum displays its wide range collection of wayang (Indonesian term which generally translated into puppet) behind the glass displays. It's not only dominated by wayang kulit (leather crafted puppet from Java and Bali) and wayang golek (Sundanese wooden puppet) but also puppets from across the archipelago. Even this museum also displays some puppet collection from abroad such as from Thailand, Cambodia, China, India, Britain, Poland, France, and Russia.

Philosophically wayang means shadow. It reflects the human's inner psyche such as rage, benevolence, greed, etc. In each of the play, puppet always carry a moral message that we shall always adhere to the Creator and to do good for others. Invariably, the play climaxes with the triumph of good over evil.

Gamelan assemble which always consort the wayang show © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014) 

The Hindus used Wayang to spread the religion by mixing the harmony of Hinduism and Indonesian native culture i.e. animism and dynamism. Ramayana and Mahabarata are two grand tales that are most represented and symbolized. When Islam began spreading in Indonesia, the display of God or gods in human being was prohibited. Hence as the alternatives, wayang play displayed only the shadow instead of the figures itself. It was the origin of wayang kulit (shadow puppet show) birth. Later on, the Christians also used wayang named wayang wahyu to preach their religion with the story based on old testament and new testament, start when Adam and Eve was tempted by devil.

Betawi features against Dutch-colonial features © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Si Unyil Family © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

As a dynamic art, wayang develops either in form and function in accordance with its era. In post colonial era, wayang perjuangan (known as wayang reformasi) is used for telling the heroic acts against the Dutch-colonial. Wayang is also used to tell about local folk fore e.g Si Jampang stories, Si Manis Jembatan Ancol. It also represents some critics of the time, some satiric plays. And in modern area, wayang also becomes an interactive educational media especially for kids as such presented by Si Unyil series.

UNESCO proclaimed Wayang Puppet Theatre Indonesia as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003. In return of the acknowledgment, it shall be our pleasure for Indonesian to preserve our nation cultural heritage.

From Poland © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)
From Russia © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)

Souvenir shop near the exit gate © Sita Ariana Pangestu (2014)


Opening Hour
Tuesday to Sunday               09.00 - 15.00
Monday and Public Holiday          Close

Adult Rp. 5.000,-     College Student Rp. 3.000,-     Children/Student Rp. 2.000,-

Groups (min. 30 persons)
Adult Rp. 3.750,-     College Student Rp. 2.250,-     Children/Student Rp. 1.500,-

How to go there:
5 minutes walking from Jakarta Kota train station or Kota bus stop of Trans Jakarta (known as busway) passed by Corridor/Line I (Blok M - Jakarta Kota) or Corridor/Line 12 (Pluit - Priuk).

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