School of dalang leather puppet master belonged to Royal Palace of Yogyakarta

The graduation ceremony of nine new dalangs was vivid and solemn. The event took place in the Habirandha auditorium in Pracimosono, west of Pagelaran of Karaton/Palace of Yogyakarta, in Wednesday evening, February 02,2000.

Present at the ceremony were members of Habirandha's Board of Management, the gurus, some famous senior dalangs and of course, the newly graduated dalangs proudly wearing the traditional Mataraman dress.

Prince GBPH Prabukusumo S.psi, a younger brother of Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, the chairman of Habirandha Foundation, in his impressive, heart to heart speech without a prepared text, shared the happiness of the new graduates, which he considered also as a great success for all persons involved in Habirandha.

Drs. KRT. Wasesawinoto, the school master and M.L. Cermogupito, the 75 year old most senior guru also delivered their touchy speeches of congratulation.

The graduation ceremony was made lively with wayang kulit shadow leather puppet show, performed by one of the new graduate dalangs.

The new dalang performed adequately well the wayang story of 'AJI NARANTAKA', where Gatotkaca, a son of Bima, after receiving the powerful mantra of NARANTAKA from RESI SETA, led other children of Pendawa to conquer the children of Korawa in the fight in Kurusetra. In this fight, Dursala, the leader of Korawa force was killed by Gatotkaca, the other Korawa were beaten and ran away.

Apart from their bravery, the Pendawa juniors were given a strong warning by Yudistira as advised by KRESNA, not to be narrow minded officers, as satrias, responsible Knights warriors, they must behave wisely.

The show of certificated dalang watching closely by the dalang seniors was a demonstration of a classical wayang performance adhered to Yogyakarta patterns. It was correct and splendid!

The Foundation of Habirandha

Habirandha was founded during the reign of Sultan Hamengkubuwono VIII. Since its birth, it has noble goals to preserve and spread the art and knowledge of classical wayang kulit performance based on Royal Yogyakarta patterns. The members of its Board of Management always consist of experts and noted figures of Javanese art and culture including a.o : K.H. Dewantoro and a Dutch scientist Dr. Kraemer. The gurus are famous senior dalangs.

The Karaton/Palace of Yogyakarta gives its full support to the development of this school of 'pedalangan' wayang kulit performance, as a high valuable asset to Javanese Culture. The source of 'pedalangan' knowledge in Yogyakarta is the book of Purwa Kanda. Showing its strong determination to further facilitate the method of learning for the students and for those who are interested to deepen their knowledge of wayang kulit and its related subjects, in 1997 Habirandha Foundation has published a book of 'Pedhalangan Ngayogyakarta', with a preface of Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX, who was also one of the country's respected leaders.

At present, Habirandha Foundation is chaired by prince G.B.P.H. Prabukusuma Spsi a University graduate of psychology.

The key persons of Habirandha are a.o. :
Drs. K.R.T. Wasesowinoto Chairman of the school
Drs. M.W. Widyoasmoro in charge of Administrative affairs.

The gurus :
M.L. Cermogupito
R.R. Cermosubarno, B.A
M.W. Dwijoparjoyo
M.B. Cermosutejo
Mr. Basuki
Mr. Budi cahyono

The 3 years of dalang course is devided into 3 classes, now it has 36 students. The 3rd year students, they got technical exercises of wayang kulit performance.

The classes are in the evening from 06.00 to 08.00 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The subjects of study

The students are people who have talent in wayang kulit performance and they must have certain basic knowledge of gamelan music.

In the process of learning, the students learn the most important subjects which are necessary to be a dalang, a.o

  1. The general knowledge, consist of a.o. :
    • Carita the story of every episode must be told correctly, clearly
    • Antawacana the ability to express different voices of wayang figures, the dalang has to speak skillfully, correctly and in accordance with the need.
    • Cepengan the way of holding wayang puppet
    • Sabetan the wayang must be manipulated skillfully and adroitly
    • Suluk a good and clear vocal / voice of the dalang, harmonious with the gamelan music. A dalang has to know all the gamelan music ('gending') required in a wayang show.
    • Memanoning dalang humorous talk of a dalang in accordance with the situation, ability to draw attention of the audience by performing attractively, so the spectators could smile, laugh, sad, have a pity, cry etc.
    • Basa the use of proper language
  2. History and family tree of wayang
  3. Tatakrama etiquette, especially Javanese etiquette and politeness
  4. Pakeliran a wayang kulit performance exposing a wayang story, accompanied by gamelan music, with correct division of episodes.
  5. Simpingan the arrangement of wayang puppets on the screen
  6. Panggungan and gangsa the arrangement of the stage (panggung) and the gamelan music instruments (gangsa).

By mastering thoroughly the above skills, a Habirandha dalang graduate should be able to stage a correct and attractive classical wayang kulit performance of Yogyakarta style.

(Suryo S. Negoro)

Copyright© PT Sangga Sarana Persada, 1997-2000
Designed by Sangga Web Team
Any comment and question related to this page, please contact