Archives for posts with tag: ramayana

W250xD100xH180, Indonesia

This Balinese mask is of the character Merdah,  the son of Tualen, both son and father are the servants of Rama.  Merdah lacks the wisdom and apathy of his father but he is eager and honest, a joyful character.  Tualen and Merdah portray the good while Sangut and Delem the evil counterparts.  Merdah is the Penasar clown in the Wayang Wong performance Ramayana, his function is to narrate the stories to the audience.

W140xH170mm, Indonesia

This is a mask used for the Kecak trance dance in Bali, it is also know as the monkey chant.  The chant is performed by 150 men during which the Ramayana epic will be performed by masked dances.  In the Ramayana legend, the monkey king Vanara helped Rama to save his wife Sita from the demon Ravana.

For our other monkey mask, check out previous entry:
Monkey Topeng, Korean Monkey Mask, Monkey Mask.

W130xH220mm, Cambodia

This is a shadow puppet used for the show Reamker which was based on the Sanskrit’s Ramayana epic.  The Reamker is a popular legend for the Khmer people, loved by the common people and the kings a like.  The story is carved into the walls in Angkor Wat and in Banteay Srei  and over the Khmer New Year (13-16 April) and the King’s birthday (13-15 May) when the shadow puppet show will be performed.

 The story of Reamker is about the balance of good and evil in the world; Prince Rama was sent into exile by one of the queen mother who has her eye on the throne for her son, Rama was joined by his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana.  In the forest the female rakshasa Surphanakha tried to seduce the 2 brothers, Lakshmana being annoyed by Surphanakha cut off her ear and nose, this angered the demon who went to ask her brother Ravana to help her revenge.  Ravana (the Lord of island Lanka) was attracted by the beauty of Sita kidnapped her.  Rama and Lakshmana striked a deal with the monkey king Sugriva, they helped Sugriva to regain his kingdom from his brother Vali while Sugriva send the monkey warriors lead by Hanuman to help with their search of Sita.  Hanuman start building a stone bridge to cross to Lanka but found out that mermaids were secretly taking away the stones, he decide to capture the mermaid princess Neang Machha but instead they fell madly in love with each other. The bridge was completed, Rama and Ravana started a battle, wiht Hanuman’s help Rama won, rescued Sita and got the throne.

@ the western gopura of Banteay Srei

@ outer gallery of Angkor Wat

W150xH200mm, Indonesia

This is the Java mask for the Ramayana epic character Sugriwa , the king of the monkeys.  The monkey kingdomm Kishkindha was ruled by Bali, Sugriwa’s brother, one day a demon came to challenge a fight with Bali.  Seeing blood from the demon’s mouth and that Bali not returning, Sugriwa thought his brother has died and took over the kingdom.  Bali however returned unharmed and suspected Sugriwa has betrayed him, took Sugriwa’s wife Tara and banished him from the kingdom.  During his exile, Sugriwa made friends with Rama whose wife Sita was captured by the demon Rakshasas.  Sugriwa and Rama made a deal to help each other, Sugriwa to take revenge of Bali and Rama to save his wife.  Sugriwa challenged Bali and a fight started, midway Sugriwa’s counsellor Hanuman to place Garland of flower around Sugriwa’s neck.  Rama took the chance and shoot Bali at the heart.  After Bali’s death, Sugriwa took over the kingdom and forgot about the promise with Rama.  Rama’s brother Lakshmana was upset and was planned to destroy the monkey kingdom and to kill Sugriwa.  Luckily Tara reconciled Rama and Sugriwa.  Hanuman found out the location of Sita and with joint forces Sita was free.

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