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Jakarta Post

The mask of unity

  • Trisha Sertori

    Contributor

Jakarta   /   Wed, June 16 2010   /  09:12 am

Nestled in a box and tucked away in one of Gianyar’s hundreds of temples rests a most precious relic of Indonesian history.Keepers of history: King of Blahbatuh, Ratu I Gusti Ngurah Djelantik, and Queen A.A. Ayu Mirah stand in front of a statue of Airlangga riding Garuda.This is the mask of the Majapahit Empire’s greatest prime minister, Gajah Mada, the man responsible for the unification of the Indonesian archipelago during the 13th century. The story of his mask was 600 years in the making according to King of Blahbatuh, Ratu I Gusti Ngurah Djelantik, who explains its potted history that veered between the kings of Bali and Java in the days before written history began.“To understand how the mask of Gajah Mada came to be in Bali, I need to give you the short version of our history, which dates from the 8th century with the rise here in Bali of the Warmadewa dynasty. This was long...