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Jakarta Post

Masks in motion

  • Dian Kuswandini

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, August 18 2010   /  08:54 am

Buried in the plain and white Panji mask are layers of colorful stories, wisdom and treasured beauty. Contemporary touch: Whatnot Studio’s Buka Topeng takes on the story of Peterpan’s vocalist Ariel. JP/Dian KuswandiniA symbol of purity, the traditional mask from West Java represents the earliest phase in human life, where the newborn possesses noble traits of character connecting him or her to the Divine Spirit. “To understand the soul of the Panji mask is to look at it and ‘read’ it using our inner side,” says mask maker Galis Agus Sunardi of the mask at the heart of Cirebon and Indramayu traditional dances. “The Panji mask carries a plethora of rich messages. Its half-closed eyes, for instance, allude to the Javanese tradition of avoiding direct eye contact with the elderly to show them respect.”Panji is only one of countless traditional masks rich in inspiring stories...