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Photo Wednesday: Indonesian election officials

8 July, 2009 (05:00) | southeast asia | By: xensen

Photo Wednesday: Kechak

30 July, 2008 (05:00) | literature/performance/film/music, southeast asia | By: xensen

kechak, a dance performance of bali

While we’re on the subject of Indonesian ritual, here is an image of a Kechak dance from www.viajar24h.com’ s photostream.

This dance tells stories from the Ramayana myth. One of its features is a large chorus of young men, said to represent a forest full of monkeys. The men provide the music for the performance by making percussive sounds.

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Some posts related to Southeast Asia:
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The endangered Indonesian dagger (kris)

28 July, 2008 (05:00) | ceramics/metal/stone, literature/performance/film/music, southeast asia | By: xensen

indonesian kris ritual

According to legend, Ken Arok, founder of the 13th-century Hindu-Buddhist Singosari kingdom, won his throne through a series of murders accomplished with a wavy dagger called a kris. Ken Arok’s dagger was powerful but it was also cursed, and ultimately it also killed its owner.

In Indonesian trance rituals, celebrants in trance states may stab themselves with krises. (Krises are also found in Malaysia, Brunei, Southern Thailand and the southern Philippines.) I think the stabbing is mostly symbolic, as several observers report they result in little or no blood.

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The jester Togog

21 July, 2008 (05:00) | literature/performance/film/music, modern, southeast asia | By: xensen

wayang golek clown puppet togog

A couple of people were asking for more images of Indonesian jester puppets. Here’s another one from the Asian Art Museum (where the puppets are difficult to photograph because they are displayed in very low light). His name is Togog.

Earlier I posted an image of the jester Semar. There is more information about Indonesian clown puppets at the Museum of Folly.

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The jester Togog, ca. 1800-1900. Ondonesia; Bandung, West Java. Wood cloth, and mixed media. Asian Art Museum; From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.85.33.

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Prajnaparamita

5 December, 2007 (05:00) | medieval, sculpture, southeast asia | By: xensen

prajnaparamita of java

Yestersay I attended a lecture by Natasha Reichle, the Asian Art Museum’s associate curator of southeast Asian art, on the subject of this beautiful 13th-century stone sculpture from Singhasari, East Java. Prajnaparamita is a term meaning wisdom or learning, one might almost say scholarship. The goddess is the embodiment of of transcendental wisdom.

The sculpture is nearly symmetrical, except for the lotus at the right in the image, which holds a book of sutras, and the hands in the center, which are in the form of the gesture of “wheel-turning,” that is, the turning of the wheel of the dharma, representing the Buddha’s teachings.

Most Javanese view the sculpture as a representation not of Prajnaparamita but of Ken Dedes, the beautiful woman who gave birth to the fateful Singhasari (1222–1292) and Majapahit (1293–1500) dynasties.

Faces

23 November, 2007 (19:10) | literature/performance/film/music, southeast asia | By: xensen