Arjuna Visualizations in Three Javanese Wayang

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Ratna Cahaya Rina


Arjuna, the third Pandava character in Mahabharata story which originated from India, has different characterisation when it spreads and develops in Java, Indonesia. This character is lovely, delicate, loves to dress up, smart in smooth talking, though mentioned as the most masculine character in the story. In the three different Wayang theaters which play the Mahabharata story such as Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet), Wayang Beber (illustrations on scroll-painted fabrics) and Wayang Wong (theatrical performance by humans), there is a distinct pattern to visualise Arjuna masculinity. The purpose of the research is to show how those three Wayangs visualise Arjuna’s masculinity. In doing so, we observe the artefact of Arjuna character in Wayang Kulit, Wayang Beber, and costume worn by Arjuna cast in Wayang Wong. The result shows that those three Wayang have a similar strategy to visualise Arjuna, they tend to emphasise on the physical subtlety of Arjuna, the softness of his behaviour and speech. It seems that to convey the masculinity of Arjuna, and there is a consistency to visualise it similar to the characteristic of a woman.

Keywords: Arjuna, visualisation, character, Wayang, Javanese


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How to Cite
Rina, R. (2017). Arjuna Visualizations in Three Javanese Wayang. New Trends and Issues Proceedings on Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(11), 240-248.