Indonesia is known as a country that is rich in tradition, culture and food rich in spices. People in Indonesia are also known to have a variety of unique arts and theater, one of which is a performance or dance that uses a mask.
Performing arts that use masks are classified as very old and are found throughout the world. For example in Bali, art related to masks is contained in the Bebetin inscription dating to 869 AD. In the inscription that was left was conveyed about the mask society.
But did you know before becoming an art like now before in Indonesia the mask was originally used as a tool to communicate with ancestral spirits?
This can be seen at traditional ceremonies of the Batak tribe (North Sumatra), the Tolage-Alfur community (Central Sulawesi, 0) and also at the Tiwah ceremony of the Dayak tribe in Kalimantan.
In addition, mask art is also used to honor ancestors by performing dances that use masks as the main symbol in the dance.
At present masks are rarely used for ancestral summoning rituals because there is already a religion that has entered the community which certainly has a considerable influence.
So as time goes by beliefs or rituals that used to be done often become thin even never done again.
Not only as a means of communication with ancestors, the mask was also used in children’s games. There are several colors that are crossed directly on the face. Then its development, the color was transferred to other objects, for example in the coconut shell, wood and so on.
From time to time the mask is also used as a dance accessory which we often refer to as mask dance. The mask dancer who wears the mask dances in accordance with the character or character of the character he plays.
In mask dance performances began to be featured in plays such as stories about Ramayana, Mahabarata or Panji stories. The Ramayana story comes from Hinduism and the Panji story comes from the influence of Islamic culture.
Hindu and Islamic culture helped shape the development of masks, so as to achieve classical mask forms. The shape and character of the masks were perfected during the era of Islamic influence during the Sunan Kalijaga era and then entered into the authority of the kings or the palace, but the basis for its creation was based on wayang purwo.
The first mask dance was created by Sunan Kalijaga. He is a 9th Guardian in the XII century.
As the development of the age of masks for shows has rarely been staged. Many things are the reason why this show is rarely staged again, one of which is the lack of popularity of mask art.
Even though it is unfortunate considering that mask art has its own meaning in the story being told.
if you are interested in Indonesian masks you can visit the Indonesia Souvenirs site