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Wayang golek (wooden puppet) performance contains the wisdom of the community life of people in West java

Culture can be defined as man’s creativity to survive, have children to continue his generation, and improve this welfare. Culture reflects the entire man’s knowledge as a social being used to deal with his environment and experience, utilizing his physic and natural surroundings. The Cultural image of West Java is well expressed by the beauty of the artistically esthetic and ethics among the community. The sharp little fingers movements, hidden smiles, almost melodious speeches, and dynamic composition of movement are the reflection of their art expressions. If one takes a good look at Sundanese and Cirebonan arts he can see the harmonies blends of intelligent life, wisdom, and freshness.

Cirebon Mask

A good example of acculturation showing the success of the community in the interaction process and accepting global new values without losing its identity can be seen through their arts expressions flourished well in the northern coastal areas of West Java such as Tanjidor in Bekasi, that once thought was originated from Betawi Culture, turned out to be the mixed Sundanese and European cultures. Other examples are Tarling, Topeng and Adzan Pitu art performances in Cirebon which can be classified as global cultural expressions in their specific format. While in the Northern of West Java the interactions and acceptances of global values transformation have been taking place, the arts reflecting people’s closeness to nature have also been taking place in the Southern of West java, including their religious expressions. A good example is Ubrug, a folk theater, other examples are Cianjuran and Kecapi suling performance.

Cirebon - Tari Topeng (Mask Dance)

More melodious and dimensional depth of art expressions grow well in other areas of Tatar Sunda (Sundanese plain), especially in Priangan or Parahyangan for example, Degung musical performance with its specific traditional musical instrument played by Nayagas Comical art and poetries (Bobodoran and Sisindiran) is another example performing fresh and comical dialogues. Rampak kendang, Kendang Pencak, and Jaipong, Sisingaan are perfect examples of the depth of dynamic life full off passion spirit.

Merak Dance (Dance of Peacock)

Specific traditional musical instrument is angklung, which is made of bamboos in different size to produce different tones and attached to a bamboo section, one can feel the rhythm and melody that mix together into a composition reflecting the depth of passion that people in West Java has to a harmonious life.

Angklung is a popular traditional musical instrument

Now, when the rapid process of changes is happening and the new millennium is beginning to enter the life of human being, the awareness of Sundanese community to expose themselves as Sundanese People seem to find the right moment and space. As a community they are aware that it is crucial to preserve the culture of Sunda with its traditional values and culture instead of merely showing a gesture of commitment toward the culture preservation. Sundanese community in West Java is more concerned with how to increase the community’s role and participation in preserving life environment in tatar Sunda, to encourage the local authority to draw a policy that protects and respects cultural work of art of Sundanese, to encourage the community to use, for their needs, the cultural information, to encourage the local authority to develop common people economy system, to persuade the concerns of national and international institutions and other independent organizations in a joint efforts to preserve the culture of Sunda and to insist that the local authority makes a policy regarding the protection and development of education in life’s environment.

Angklung (bamboo musical instruments) attraction at saung Angklung Mang Ujo, Bandung

In reality, the actual interaction process, when confronted with the global culture, has put Sundanese community in a situation where they cannot avoid the fact that they need to open rooms for transformation and culture interaction that formulate new charms of culture reflected in their daily life in many aspects.

Peaceful transformation of culture has made West Java a secured and relatively stable region and capable of introducing reformation based on the existing and growing norms of culture. The indicator to a success of this reformation in politics, economy and culture is when all of those aspects are realized. The religious and spiritual awareness increase and the reduction of the number of the poor are also good indicator of success.

There is a specific and typical policy of the local authority of West Java concerning this matter. It is condensed in the slogan DAKABALAREA (dahareun loba, kabeuli ku ra’yat, barudak bias sakola, tur ra’yat jagjag waringkas, layanan umum ningkat, reformasi dilaksanakan, anu airman nambahan any miskin gurangan).

DAKABALAREA is a real and concrete effort in materializing awareness and responsibility of the community and the local authority in dealing with crises. “Dahareun Loba” is a commitment to achieve the objective of maintaining the food sustainability proportionally. “Kabeuli ku ra’yat” meaning with a reasonable price or affordable for the common people to obtain it. “Barudak bisa sakola tur jagjag waringkas”, a commitment to provide education and health for each and everyone in the community.

The dynamic of the community civilization which is like the movement of a jaipong dancer following the rhythm of the drums and the musical instruments played by nayagas, is potential to be developed because of the cultural understanding and its implementation in a modern life at wayang golek (wooden puppet) performance and in many other art performances there is always a wisdom in coping with phenomenon and paradigm of the community life people in West java. Through kidungs (a ballad song) in various compositions such as sinom, dangdanggula, asmarandana, and others and also kecapi suling producing sounds of the souls that travel across the hills, valleys, and beaches, one can always detect the beauty of conscience and the expression of the finest thoughts among the common people.

The expression of the Culture of Sunda that accommodates the depth of the life’s philosophy, and the spiritual and esthetical journey is best shown in the art of glass painting, and batik painting such as batik Cirebon, batik garutan and Tasikmalaya embroideries.

Kujang is one of West Java traditional weapon

Sundanese is also known for their expertise in blacksmith making specific gong, and traditional weapons such as kujang, golok and others.

Pencak Silat, the traditional martial art of West Java

Design concept of Sundanese architecture makes the best use of materials taken from the nature such as the domestic traditional kitchen utensils made from bamboo and coconut leaves and this is a good example of a dynamic civilization of the culture of Sunda.

In the world of literature, pantun buhun has been known for years as the work of art containing philosophical thoughts and life attitude of Sundanese community in responding to the phenomenon and paradigm of their life in all aspects. Including the process of growth of the civilization from animism, polytheism, to monotheism. Therefore even though most of Sundanese are Moslems there is syncretism and mysticism among some of them.

Tourism is also potential to be developed to become an industry in the future. Especially when they are all laid side by side with specific sundanese cakes and cookies produced by products of agriculture.

Sundanese cuisines, beside the tradition of sundanese women to take a good care of their bodies that makes them beautiful and fresh, is potential to be developed and managed for prospective investment. The combination of traditional cuisine, high modern technology of cooking utensils, and equipments will make good restaurants whereas the tradition for body care among sundanese women allows the potential to establish industry in cosmetics using natural herbs as their ingredients.

Finally, the entire aspects of culture are united in the unification of culture that is continuously interactive along with the growth of culture transformation process with the illustration of sharp little fingers moving graciously with hidden smiles from sundanese beautiful girls, can represent the warmness, closeness and the beauty of the esthetic of culture presented by the culture of West Java, from which the doors to the civilization are open.

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