Reog Ponorongo Tiger Mask, West Java, Indonesia, Mid 1900’s

Singo Barong — The David Alan Collection

WianTopangPonorogoFace2

Indonesia is a fascinatingly diverse country, consisting of

over 18,000 islands, numerous official religions, and even

more unofficial belief systems. Java, the most populated

island on earth was once the home to a large Hindu empire,

followed by centuries of Buddhism which built the largest

hand carved stone Buddhist temple on earth. Java was further

influenced by five centuries of Islamic Sultans and Dutch

Colonial rulers. Throughout all these prolific Kingdoms,

many Javanese retained their old beliefs in animism,

mysticism, and rural communal practices.

In eastern Java lies the Ponorogo Regency, considered the

birthplace of Reog Ponorogo, a traditional Indonesian dance

form that celebrates one of these mystical traditions. The

Reog National Festival is held annually, and has become

popular throughout Indonesia, and with foreign tourists.

Reog Ponorogo tells the struggle of a prince who wishes to

propose to a lovely princess, and is held at the full moon in

the Ponorogo Town Square.

 

The dance is staged by 25-40 dancers and musicians, one of

whom wears the mask of Singo Barong, enemy of the prince,

King of Ponorogo. The dancer who wears the mask of Singo

Barong, the mythical lion, enters a trance-like state.

Typically, this lead performer was a village strong man, able

to hold the mask on with his teeth while dancing, the mask

often weighing 25-40 lbs.

WianTopangoPonorogoBack2

The David Alan Collection’s Singo Barong lion mask is

beautifully preserved, with brighly painted wooden teeth,

porcupine quill whiskers, horsehair plaits, and menacing

golden eyes. The entire mask weighs 25 lbs. and measures

approximately 18” in height and nearly 24” wide. This well

preserved example of mid-1900’s Ponorogo craftsmanship is

suitable for display or performance, and is priced at $950

US.

For more information, or to view this piece, please visit us at

241 South Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA.