Singo Barong — The David Alan Collection
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.
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
For more information, or to view this piece, please visit us at
241 South Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA.