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Wayang Wong  

by on Monday, 11 December 2006No Comment | 4,462 views

The term Wayang Wong comes from the two words wayang meaning shadow and wong meaning man. Wayang Wong, which translates to shadow men, is a human dramatization of the Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) show, wherein the dancers imitate the jerky movements of the puppets. Wayang Wong is one of several Balinese performance art forms which meld dance, drama and music. In Bali, there are two kinds of Wayang Wong, Wayang Wong Parwa which adapts stories from the Mahabharata for the stage, and Wayang Wong Ramayana, which takes stories from the Ramayana.

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In Wayang Wong Parwa, all actors, except for the clowns (penasar), do not wear masks. In Wayang Wong Ramayana, all the actors are masked. Wayang Wong Ramayana is generally known just as wayang wong, hereas the wayang wong parwa is usually referred to as parwa. Wayang Wong is believed to have emerged around the time of the Waturenggong regime (1460-1550). The language used in Wayang Wong is Balinese or Kawi (a form of old Javanese language), noble characters use Kawi, the clowns (penasar) use Balinese for those who do not understand Kawi the clown (penasar) act as a translator who talks allowed, explaining what is happening. This, like many other dances, is part pantomime and can be very funny.



The Wayang Wong masks are sacred and have magical power. This is believed to be due to both the special wood from which they are made, a Pasupati (investing magical power to an object) ceremony and the fact that the masks regularly undergo ritual cleansing, and have so for centuries. Special rituals accompany the use of the masks at every performance. In the morning, the performers pray in the temple to ask God to protect them while they are performing.



The Wayang Wong Ramayana can be found in:

  • Mas, Telepud, Den Tiyis (Gianyar),
  • Marga, Apuan, Tunjuk, Klating (Tabanan),
  • Sulahan (Bangli),
  • Wates Tengah (Karangasem),
  • Bualu (Badung),
  • Prancak, Batuagung (Jembrana)

Wayang Wong Parwa can be found in:

  • Sukawati, Teges, Pujung (Gianyar)
  • Blahkiuh (Badung).

Editor’s Note
Read also Wayang Wong Tejakula

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