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Old 15th September 2019, 08:42 PM   #18
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,608

Gustav, I must admit I do have more than a little bit of difficulty in understanding your motives in pursuing this matter. I will try to satisfy you once more, but in reality, I believe I have already answered your questions in this most recent post of yours in my own previous posts. But I'll try again, hopefully with a little more success this time.

Wayang golek can mean "golek puppet", and it can also mean "golek puppet performance"; "wayang" can be used in many ways, in the context of a wayang performance it must be understood as "performance".

The same is true of "wayang purwa":- "wayang purwa" can be understood as "the puppet theatre repertoire that includes stories from the very beginning", or it can be understood as:- "a puppet theatre performance that draws upon the repertoire of stories from the very beginning".

In the passage that you quote, I was writing about performances, which I believe is obvious.

The Javanese language is like unto English in that a word can be understood in a number of ways, depending upon context.

Your second problem.
There are a number of beliefs that surround the Raden Patah prohibition, and it is not likely that we will ever know the complete accurate details of the prohibition and its eventual lifting. Some things that should be considered are that Raden Patah (AKA Jin Bun, AKA Cek Ko Po) had Chinese blood lines, and that the Muslim population on North Coast Jawa in the 15th century was made up principally of Chinese traders.

Another thing that we need to consider is that the early leather puppets were believed to be heavily ornamented with paint and possibly with moveable parts. Men watched the puppets from the dalang side of the screen, women from the shadow side of the screen.

Raden Patah was not born Muslim, he converted to Islam, and as with many new converts to a religion he became a little extreme in his views. So although some people say it was the Muslim clerics who wanted the bans, others say that Raden Patah himself wanted the bans and the clerics found a way around these bans, principally because they wanted to use the wayang (theatre) for religious propaganda.

So what is believed to have happened is that new puppets were devised that were painted black, and were without moving parts, it then took another couple of hundred years for the style of the puppets, and for the manner in which they were watched, to come back to what had been usual prior to Raden Patah.

Now Gustav, you must understand, what I am relating here is based upon conversations with people whom I believe know more than I do about the wayang. As I have repeatedly said, any slight knowledge I may have of the wayang has not been acquired through books or study, I have very little interest in the wayang, and no interest at all in adding to the slight knowledge I already have. A somewhat similar situation to my knowledge of the ballet of the Western World:- I am completely uninterested in ballet, it bores me, I do have a little bit of knowledge of ballet, but that is due to the fact that I have a couple of relatives who are ballet teachers and ex-performers. Ballet, wayang, for me both these performing arts do not register on my list of things to spend time on.

Now, your second problem seems to need an explanation of the actions taken by Raden Patah in respect of wayang performances. I cannot give you a verifiable explanation, and frankly I seriously doubt that anybody alive today can. You have the interest in this, you obviously enjoy what you have read, so go the texts and form your own opinion. It is likely to be just as valid as any opinion I that may have.

Your third problem.
Gustav, just one more time:- I am coming at this entire wayang matter from a different direction to your own. Anything I have written is based on popular belief and the belief of working dalangs. That belief may be more or less accurate, or it might not be so. I don't care either way. I'm not interested.

What I do know is this:- it is not my part in any interaction with Javanese people to try to teach them that their cultural beliefs are incorrect, thus, what they may care to tell me, I accept, if I disagree I keep it to myself. If you want people to open up and talk to you, you do not set yourself up as an authority and try to teach them things that you, yourself only half understand.

In effect, your "Third Problem" is no problem at all:- you have your own sources of information, and you can form your own opinions. There is no problem. I am absolutely uninterested in trying to get you to accept my opinions, my opinions are for use in speaking with and interacting with a lot of people with whom I have social and family intercourse with every day. My opinions are of no use to you.

Gustav, I do appreciate that you have a deep knowledge of and interest in the Javanese puppet theatre, I most gently suggest that if you wish to continue conversation that involves this form of the performing arts, that you would be well advised to seek out somebody who has a similar deep interest in this subject, because I have very little interest. I am aware that there are some discussion groups centered around the puppet theatre in general, perhaps one of these groups might be a better place for you to continue discussion of the wayang?
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