In 2000, the moment of our attendance in Javanese art event (Sarasehan) in South of Jakarta, I was introduced with a woman in complete classical Javanese clothe (jarit, kebaya and sanggul) named Ms. Astoeti Hendrato. Actually, she is an extraordinary lecturer of Javanese Art Faculty of Universitas Indonesia (UI).
During the conference, known that Ms. Astoeti is one of the dancers of “Bedhoyo Ketawang”, the ceremonial dance from Surakarta Kingdom.
Lucky me because since a long time ago I want to immortalize this dance in a painting, but to get the information resources of the dances I could not find a correct person yet. My meeting with Ms. Astoeti seemed like an inspiration and spirit for me to my desire of making the painting.
The result of that meeting, I got a small book titled “Bedhoyo Ketawang Beksan Ing Candi-candi” which is compiled by KGPH. Hadiwidjojo edited by Ms. Astoeti and published by Balai Pustaka in 1981.
The are many kinds of Bedhoyo dances, such as ; Bedhoyo Arjuno Wiwoho, Bedhoyo Sangaskoro, Bedhoyo Semang and Bedhoyo Ketawang. But I don’t know why Bedhoyo Ketawang is so attracting and makes me want to draw it.
The attractive things of Bedhoyo Ketawang are :
1. The Dancers, gamelan players, singers and also the audience of the ceremony, must be in a pure soul and physicly condition, especially for the dancers, they must be virgin.
2. Several days before attending the show, they have to do fasting first, then followed by a ritual of impure or soiled.
3. The ceremony must be held on “Anggoro Kasih” day or Tuesday Kliwon in Java Calendar.
4. Persons who are allowed to join the ceremony are the member of the family and the governor of Keraton. The outsiders are not allowed to join the ceremony.
5. During the ceremony, the audience are not allowed to smoke, eat and drink, not event to talkto the other, in order to keep the solemnity of the ceremony.
6. The process of dancers arrival from Dalem Ageng Prabasuyasa” (inside the Keraton) to the “Pendopo Ageng Sasonosewoko” (the stage), is by walking around “Sinuhun” (King’s throve) from the left to the right clockwise, either when they go back to the “Dalem Ageng” (see the layout).
7. Forbidden to sing the back sound of the dance vocally or by whistling.
8. The pattern of the dancers position has each name, such as ; Batak, Endhel Ajeg, Endhel Weton, Apit Ngarep, Apit Buri, Gulu, Dhadha, Boncit and Apit Meneng.
And many more rules which have to be obey including Kinds of ritual offerings, etc. which are in order to avoid
Based on the requirements and rules of the ceremony of Bedhoyo Ketawang dances, has to be concerned how far those things related with real lives and society in the globalization era.
That’s so clear that so long time ago before many kinds of religion and belief came in the world, the cultural elements have a very big contributions for human being as the media of self discovering, built the civilization and also built the social cluster for peace. As the unrejectable phenomenon, the elements of culture will change and revoluted based on the progress of the era. But has to be memorized that the essence is: There is no life without culture.