Mask (topeng) as a product of fine arts is not only used as decoration, but also as the equipment of dance and theatre in some performances. In Malang, to be exact in the Kedung Monggo village, Pakisaji sub-distric and in the Jabung village, Tumpang sub-distric, lots of Topeng are made to use for the performance of an opera or “wayang topeng”.
The mask of Malang (topeng Malang) has special characteristics, such as their thick wood of randu wood (capok tree) or “cangkring”, which is rather dark in colour, with a carving on the forehead which is specially bulging, fashioned with a square chin and high cheek- bones. Some mask needs some ritual to make the carving mask has a magic power.
Decoratively, Malang masks are unique. They are different from any other mask art found in Java. There are five typical colurs used to deco rate the masks. The red colour symbolizes courage, the black colour symbolizes determined ambitions, the yellow colour symbolizes wisdom, the white colour indicates purified character and the green colour indicates peace.
The form of its throne and the expression of the mask especially the construction of “gelung” and “janang” and the eyes are not far different with the thrones of wayang on the relief of Jajagu temple. This is not surprising since the Jabung is located near Jajagu temple.
MALANG MASK DANCE
Malang is famous for its dances. The topeng performance has a strong dramatic value, its performance pattern is good, while the garment music have special characteristics. The carving mask usually made to be used in an opera or "wayang topeng". What is interesting about the mask dance is that all the dancers representing some characters wear masks.
The characters in Malang theatrical mask dance are 64 and they play the roles of 64 figures in Panji tales. As in wayang kulit, the story is narrated and sung by a dhalang, who recreates the stories passed orally to him from generation to generation. The dancers do not speak themselves with the one exception of the clown, Patrajaya, who wears a half-mask allowing him to speak. While the other dancers move with grace and style, Patrajaya plays the fool: knock kneed, buck teeth, an old cloth tied loosely around his head, he provides the comic relief. New stories are improvised from time to time and old ones built upon to create something new.
* Find out how the traditional mask dance of Malang is staged at the Padepokan Seni Mangun Dharma in Tulusbesar village, Tumpang Sub district, Malang.
Location: Tumpang Sub Distric , Malang