Tag Archives: Stories

WAYANG KULIT – BIMA

Bima

After the Tattoo Convention Rotterdam 2016 (thanks everyone for dropping by!), last week Ade worked on an upper arm design inspired by a figure found in Wayang Kulit.

BIMA

Bima_2

 

Bima is the second of the Pandawa (Pandava) brothers and a leading character in the epic Mahabharata. He is a strong and bold character as reflected in his round eyes and wide
stance. He was surrounded by a whirlwind wherever he went and he is also instantly recognisable by his long fingernails that act as his weapon (Pancanaka).

He is seen as a heroic figure and known as a powerful figure, he is always rude and intimidating for the enemy, even though his heart soft. Bima characteristics are brave, steadfast, strong, stoic, obedient and honest, and he considers all people equal. He never curses or sits in front of a person he talks to. He has three wives and three children. Having descended from the wind god Vayu, Bima has the ability to fly, as does his half-brother Hanuman (Hanoman) and his son Ghatotkacha.

The vast majority of the ‘Wayang’ plays performed are drawn from the two great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata with as well as stories of Javanese origin. ‘Wayang kulit’ is considered as the highest of the Javanese performing arts. Performed in the royal courts of Java as early as the ninth century, this tradition continues to be treasured as one of the ‘pusaka’ or sacred heirlooms of the court. ‘Wayang kulit’ is traditionally performed on ritual days and religious ceremonies. It has also been adapted more recently for television and public education campaigns.

Here a nice example of some Wayang kulit play showing the character Bima.

Video by Antonius Oktaviano Wiriadjaja

 

Next thing is: Frankfurt Tattoo Convention 2016! See you there!

– Lielo

 

 

 

 

 

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LEGEND OF RATU KIDUL – QUEEN OF THE SOUTHERN SEA OF JAVA

Ratu_Kidul

In the last days I finally found some time to study more about Ratu Kidul, the queen of the Southern Sea of Java. A legend from Indonesia that fascinates me already for over years. Because it’s such a known and ancient legend and there’s many different stories going around about her in Indonesia, I decided to stick to the stories and the place that’s the most familiar to me.

5 years ago I heard about this old mysterious story for the first time during my visit to Parang Tritis, an area on the southern coast of Java in the Bantul Regency, about 30 km south of Yogyakarta. When I arrived at the Hotel Queen of the South – Puri Ratu Kidul for some drinks, we decided to take the big climb down the cliff to walk on the beach.

Before I tried to climb down my friends directly stopped me and checked me if I was not accidentally wearing any green or blue clothing. Kinda surprised I asked them, if that would be a problem? They told me ‘Because otherwise the Queen of the South Sea will get angry and will drag you into the sea and make you serve like her slave!‘ Wow, that kinda shocked me and I instantly wanted to know more about this mysterious lady!

Ratu_Kidul_2

 

Kanjeng Ratu Kidul 

She is a legendary Indonesian female spirit or deity, known as the Queen of the Southern Sea of Java (Indian Ocean or Samudra Kidul south of Java island) in Javanese and Sundanese mythology. The origin of these stories is hard to find but could go back to around the year 1300, more then 700 years ago.

She goes under many names which reflect the diverse stories of her origin in a lot of sagas, legends, myths and traditional folklore. Other names include, Nyai Roro Kidul, Ratu Laut SelatanGusti Kanjeng Ratu Kidul, Kanjeng Ratu Ayu Kencono Sari etc. In this post I stick to the name that I know out of my own experience, Ratu Kidul. 

If she has to be seen as a goddess or more as a ghost depends a bit on religious beliefs. For example in the Islamic society of Indonesia, she’s more seen as a ghost who is immortal. And in Bali they more see her as an appearance of Durga, so in their eyes, she is seen as a goddess. And according to Javanese beliefs, she is also the mythical spiritual consort and protector of the Sultans of Mataram and Yogyakarta, beginning with Senopati and continuing to the present day.

She is often illustrated as a mermaid with a tail as well the lower part of the body of a snake or a fish. They say she claimed to take the soul of any who she wished for. And the local people believe that the Queen often claims lives of fishermen or visitors that bathe on the beach and that she usually prefers handsome young men. Anybody who respects her and brings her offerings she will protect.

 

Parangtritis Beach  & Hotel Queen of the South

Many Javanese people believe that Parang Tritis Beach is the gate of Ratu Kidul’s magical kingdom.

On top of the cliff at the beach, there’s a beautiful 5 star hotel which is named after the Ratu Kidul and which even holds a bungalow, reserved especially for her! You can find the bungalow 033 in the back of the garden, from the porch in the front you directly look at the sea. In the living / dining room there’s a bed with green sheets, under the bed are green sandals. In the corner of the bed, a pot with sand to burn incense sticks. And in front of the bed a dressings table with mirrors and a lot of make up. So Ratu Kidul and one of her lovers could spend the night here.

Room_Ratu_KidulPhoto by an unknown visitor.

 

Ratu_Kidul_1

 

 

Note; I never visited this bungalow myself and I’m not 100% sure if it’s still there due to a big earth quake around 2008 when the hotel was completely destroyed. Last time when I was there (October, 2014) the hotel was completely rebuild and looking beautiful again, but I’m not sure if the bungalow is still there. What I know is that the bungalow is not always open for public, you have to request it if you want to see it (just like the other rooms reserved for Ratu Kidul in Indonesia, like the one in Hotel Samudra at Pelabuhan Ratu) Probably the queen preferred to spend more time at Parang Kusomo at the beach of Parang Tritis. A walled space with 2 stone blocks as thrones. One for the Sultan & one for Ratu Kidul. In that holy place, offerings and prayers are made every day.

Parang_Tristis_1 Parang_Tristis_2

Photo’s made by our friend, Joel Kiel, during our trip to Parang Tritis in October, 2014. 

 

Parang Tritis is just a place that I keep coming back to, where I really love to be and make long walks on the beach. Still a very calm, non-touristic mystical place. I can’t wait to return!

– Lielo

 

 

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INDONESIAN ROOTS

First of all: Happy new year! We hope 2013 will be a great, healthy and creative year for all of you!

Recently we had some customers coming in who wanted to have a designs done which are resembling  their Indonesian roots. Some of them have Indonesian fathers, mothers, grandmothers, aunties or other family members. And even in some cases we have people contacting us who don’t have a connection with Indonesia because of their family but just because they have a particular interest in the culture, history or traditions. It’s always great to hear the stories and reasons about why someone wants to get a specific design tattooed. In this way we can keep ancient symbols and images alive and pass it on to the next generations.

 

Javanese Mask.

Javanese Mask.

Hanacaraka/Aksara Jawa. Traditional Javanese writing.

Hanacaraka/Aksara Jawa. Traditional Javanese writing.

 

Based on the female Javanese wayang shadow puppet called Shinta.

Based on the female Javanese wayang shadow puppet called Shinta.

Based on Garuda mask from Bali, Indonesia.

Based on Garuda mask from Bali, Indonesia.

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