The role of performing art in one of the world's most diverse and complex societies
This book is the first comprehensive overview of Javanese performing arts from their origins to their dynamic present. Renowned scholar and musician Sumarsam draws from a lifetime of immersion in both wayang and gamelan to guide readers through the concept of the "in-between," revealing how the interplay of dualisms—myth and history, sacred and secular, personal and cultural—forms the bedrock of Javanese performance. Rigorously researched historical case studies reveal the intricate relationship between histories and mythologies in Java. Wayang, accompanied by gamelan, is a multimedia performance imbued with rich historical, aesthetic, religious, and emotional associations. Sumarsam delves into this intricate, profound, and ever-evolving art form, exploring its diverse manifestations and venues, from courtly village entertainment-cum-ritual to palace-based aesthetic expressions of cultural proficiency; from coastal mercantile entrepots to the verdant wet rice terraces of Java; from colonial plantation and textile factory cultures to communities centered around contemporary industrial estates and creative economy initiatives. An essential resource for scholars, musicians, and enthusiasts of wayang and gamelan, The In-Between in Javanese Performing Arts offers an unparalleled immersion into the heart of traditional Javanese performing arts, revealing their profound impact on Javanese culture, identity, and artistic expression.
List of illustrations • Preface • My Birthplace • Socio-hierarchy • Paying Homage to Mbah Cåkarmå • Dualistic Interactions • Cultural Arbiter? • Coda •Acknowledgement • Note on Orthography • Introduction • Hinduization • The Magically Charged Relic of Inheritance • Myth as Conduit for Spiritual Experience and Proselytization • Overview of Chapters • Coda: The In-Between • Chapter One: Indian Origin and Inspirations: Old Javanese Literary Works and Cultural Performance • Evidence from Kakawin • Discourses on Early Javanese Music • Reflection and Discussion • Tracing and Retracing Indic Roots • Chapter Two: Central-Periphery, Court-Rural Dynamic: Performing Arts in the Move • The Panji and Damarwulan Story • East Javanese Stories on the Move • East Javanese Stories as Celebrated •Performances in Javanese Courts • The Case
of Bhima Svarga: Wayang Golèk in Tegal • Chapter Three: Linking the Present to the Past through Preaching, Ritual, And Levity • Intertextuality • Affect, Wayang and Pengajian • Dakwah, Humor, and Popular Music: Ki Joko Goro-Goro • The History and Religiousity of Gamelan Sekatèn • Chapter Four: The 19th-to 20th-Century and Contemporary Discourses on Wayang • Light and Power: Wayang as a Shadow Play • Colonial and Political Trajectory • Allegory, Meaning, and Transformation • Preservation and Development • Concluding Thoughts • Transhistorical Complexity and Ambiguity • Incongruity • Politicization • Allegory • Patronage and the Advance of Culture • Coda • References • Glossary • Notes • Illustrations • Figures
SUMARSAM is Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music at Wesleyan University. His books include Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java (1995) and Javanese Gamelan and the West (2013). He was the recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2016–17), the Indonesian Presidential Satyalancana Cultural Award (2018), and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music Fellowship (2019–20).
"This ambitious and extremely well researched book by one of the most prolific and insightful scholars on Javanese performing arts opens refreshingly new lines of inquiry into the cultural worlds in which these arts have developed over many centuries. Expanding far beyond his previous works, focusing on Javanese gamelan, Prof. Sumarsam opens doors to broader cultural issues, ranging from myth and literature to current Indonesian politics."~Anderson Sutton, Professor, Ethnomusicology/University of Hawaii at Mānoa
"Wayang's history, practice, and mythos are traced using historical lenses of tantrism, Sufism, and political implosions, as well as contemporary dakwah (Islamic preaching) and Intangible Cultural Heritage. Personal practice, and archival and field research combine, illuminating wayang arts, lahir (container/outside) and batin (soul/inside)."~Kathy Foley, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Theater Arts, University of California at Santa Cruz