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(F044)

Banyuwangi Man on Barong-like Beast

325

F044 front

Banyuwangi has a unique culture distinctly different from the mainstream East Javanese and Maduran culture. Historically, Banyuwangi was Java's last stronghold of Hinduism in the 15 - 16th century, before Islam became the dominant religion of all Java. The ancient kingdom of Banyuwangi, Blambangan, is mentioned in Portuguese documents of the 15'th century. Earlier than that, Blambangan is mentioned in the history of the Majapahit Empire.

In Java folklore, Banyuwangi is famous its king Menak Jingga who rebelled against Majapahit. The people of the region do not call themselves Javanese, but refer to themselves as the Osing. Traditional artists from Banyuwangi claim that the famous Balinese art actually originated from Banyuwangi. Thierry Durieux often finds unique and intriguing pieces of folk art in Banyuwangi. .

F044

This figure of a man on a beast is a fine example of Banyuwangi folk art. We cannot identify the character in any legend and neither can we identify the beast that the man is riding on. It appears to be an interpretation of the mythical barong. The height of this statue is 37 cm and the length is approximately 35 cm. It appears to be made of nangka wood, and the tool-marks are sure and deft, suggesting that maybe the maker was a carpenter. The head, neck and the nose of the man are attached by nail or glue, and the original pigment paint has been scraped a little. This beast rider has the power to grow on the viewer who takes the time to look at it closely and deeply.

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