Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia
wood with pigment, cotton, velvet, rayon, metal, plaster, semiprecious stones,seeds, gold thread, buffalo horn
150.0 x 62.0 x 33.0 cm
Museum Sonobudoyo, Yogyakarta
According to Javanese court tradition Sultan Agung, the ruler of the great Islamic empire Mataram, invented the bedoyo dance in 1643. It was conceived followed a mystical vision in which the Muslim saint Sunan Kalijaga gave his blessing to its creation. The bedoyo is the most sacred of all palace ritual dances and is usually presented by an ensemble of nine royal women. This figure of a dancer wears typical court attire for women – batik with the broken sword [parang rusak] pattern which was reserved for royalty, a tie-dyed breast wrapper, a waist sash made from prized Indian silk patola (although here an imitation), and jewellery in the form of naga serpent bracelets. Such costume and distinctive hair style is still worn by royal brides today.
This figure was commissioned from a local traditional wood carver for the opening of the new Museum Sonobudoyo in Jogjakarta (Yogyakarta) in 1935. The Museum houses many important items from the royal collections.