What Opens and Ends Every Wayang Performance

By Unit Pengelola Museum Seni

Kayon Gapuran (2012) by Bambang MurtiyasaUnit Pengelola Museum Seni

This type of wayang is called Gunungan

A gunungan is a symmetrical-shaped figure of parchment made of cow leather and drawn on with watercolor mixed with adhesive. In a wayang performance, it is the first and the last to appear. It also marks transition between different scenes of the shadow play of wayang. 

It is also known as Kayon

"Kayon" comes from the word "Kayu" which means trunk of a tree.  This is not just any other tree. This is the tree of life, more known as Kalpataru in Hindu mythology.  

The Gunungan shows us 8 direction of the wind

The four cardinal direction North, East, South, West each separated by 90 degrees, and secondarily divided by four ordinal directions—northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest.

The wind direction represent Hasta Brata

Hasta Brata is the eight characters a King should bring into the world

Character like sun ray

Capable of bringing life

Character like the moon

Capable of bringing light and joy in darkness

Character like the earth

Can feed all and every creature on earth

Character like the stars

Capable of guidance in life

Character like the ocean

Capable of being fair as ocean on all places has the same height

Character like the wind

Can go through everywhere and fill every place 

Character like fire

Capable of vanishing all vanity

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