Wayang Wong of Tejakula Wins UNESCO Award

Wayang Wong of Tejakula Wins UNESCO Award

The Wayang Wong or human puppet of Tejakula, that takes its storyline form the Ramayana epic  and is perfromed in Old Javanese, is becoming incresingly well-known internationally. During the opening of the fourth annual Buleleng Festival, the Director General of Culture for the Ministry of Education and Culture -through the government of Buleleng, awarded the

The Wayang Wong or human puppet of Tejakula, that takes its storyline form the Ramayana epic  and is perfromed in Old Javanese, is becoming incresingly well-known internationally. During the opening of the fourth annual Buleleng Festival, the Director General of Culture for the Ministry of Education and Culture -through the government of Buleleng, awarded the the wayang wong troupe with a certificate of appreciation for the establishment Tejakula’s wayang wong as world intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. The younger geneation is now expected to help preserve this art form in the face of the challenges of globilization.

Representing the Village of Tejakula, community leader and wayang wong perfromer Gede Komang was recived the certificate from the Regent of Buleleng, Putu Agus Suradnyana. Komang said that communities in the region are very much dedicated to protecting the sacred value of the wayang wong masks. The clan Temple of Tejakula Village houses some 75 masks, but only some of these masks can be displayed in “The original mask may not be taken out of the temple grounds and should only be used in performances at the clan temple of Tejakula village. The temple’s supporting devotee are dedicated to maintaining the sanctity of the wayang wong mask” he said.

Actually, continued Gede Komang, there are quite a lot of travelers who are attracted to visit Tejakula village and see the wayang wong show. However, since the wayang wong mask  the temple cannot be taken outside the temple grounds, tejakula’s community leader finally decided to create replicas of the mask so that the wayang wong could be perfromed elsewhere. “The duplicates are allowed to be taken out of the village. In the 1970s, the wayang wong mask duplicates were used in performances at home and overseas making the wayang wong more widely known in Asian and European countries”, he added.

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Gede Komang said that wayang wong becomae known in many countries thanks to the efforst of famous leaders like Nyoman Tusan and Made Bandem, Jero Bendesa and Santika. Gede Komang himself participated in devotional work by dancing at Tejakula village. He was then appointed as advisor to the Teja Murti wayang wong troupe –the only one in his village.

So far there have been no difficulties in dancing the wayang wong. “Indeed, our friends have no difficulty dancing the wayang wong. However, they do have some trouble chanting the kekawin or kidung songs of the Ramayana storyline because these Balinese songs use the Old Javanese language that they do not understand. The wayang wong of Tejakula was originally devellpoed in the seventeenth century and had to be perfromed on Umanis Galungan”, explained Gede Komang.

According to Gede Komang, the wayang wong players receive divine revelations through generations allwoign the dance to be preserved into the next generation. It is said that if any residents does not comply with the faith or are not willing to perform it, they would often experience pain or difficulty in life. “People who are not descendants of wayang wong dancers are also given the opportunity to learn to dance the wayang wong” added he said. (BTN/kmb)

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