Sunday, September 29, 2013

N'dalem Gamelan Naga

I just finished this painting of my favourite hotel within the Kraton of Yogyakarta.  Right now, I will start my painting of Phytocrene palmata and also my research of the unidentified climber which now I have some ideals what it actually is.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

batik batik batik

Lots of new batik:
Bin House, Dudung, EB, etc.

Green Moment

This is the ceremonial cloth I bought when in Yogyakarta.  I am wearing a green surjan.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gua Langse

Gua Langse is situated further east of the Queen of the South Hotel on the cliff facing the Java coast at Parangtritis Beach.  We went there in the morning, bright and early.  After about more than 30 minutes of very rough road passed the sign saying Gua Langse, we finally made it to the huts where the keeper will take your entry money and a young man was going to be our guide down the cliff to the cave.  We passed thru more local timber's plantation where we could see monkeys and then right up to the cliff.  We started our descend and our driver was too old for the trip and he waited up there for our safe return.  So the 3 of us, the young guide, me and my friend Jack climbed down.  There were bamboo or wooden ladders on the vertical cliff and then other places were steps formed from the hollow of tree roots.  It was indeed very dangerous.  One false move, you will be down there faster than you want.  Our legs were shaking half way down as it was very exhausting and physically tough to get down.  But we finally made it to the bottom of the cliff.  It has been a 160m descend.  We took some pictures on the sea rock and then walked up to the pavilion to view Parangtritis beach from far.  Then we entered the Gua.  The cave is dark but wide with limestone formations and then the inner part has very low ceiling.  People come to meditate here for 3 days.  The air was still and not cool.  I felt a bit scared trapped in that space.  Outside I mediated facing the ocean, and performed the ritual to Nyai Ratu Roro Kidul (Queen of the South Sea).  I have brought her a perfume and tied up with a breast cloth of green (her favourite colour) and my name card.
The way up was relatively easy, and we were treated to fresh coconut water to regain energy.  It had been a very mystical trip.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Imogiri: The Royal Tombs

When I was in Central Java, I visited the Royal Graves at a place called Imogiri.  Usually it is closed but on Friday afternoon, between 1 to 4 pm, the inner gate is open.  To reach the place usually one has to ascend about 345 steps to reach the gate.  But I was prepared.  I went with my friend Jack from Solo and his driver in a car.  We were then led by a dalem on motorbike, he showed us the way to drive all the up the hill to the gate, so we don't have to sweat at all.  It was a smart move as previously my friend and I were so tired from the Gua Langse hike.
I was already in my Javanese costume which is consisted of barefoot (in the sacred ground), batik kain (length) of seadragon motif (from batik Masina Cirebon), lonthong polo (light blue waist band) locked by kamus modang benang emas (belt) with a timang (belt head), Surjan Peranakan of dark blue (javanese shirt), and a blangkon (hat).
My friend needed to change into the right costume, so did the dalem who was in a different surjan before.  Now all of us were in dark blue surjan lurik.
We were to visit the grave of the highest ruler of Yogyakarta, then finally entered the most sacred inner place.  It is the grave of Sultan Agung.  The opening to the inner grave is very small and made of wood.  Jack and I moved inside and the heat was constant and the air was still.  One oil lamp was burning along with lots of incense.  On the grave was scattered fresh flower petals of rose, jasmine and Ylang Ylang.  The fragrance was intoxicating.  You can go very close to pray or ask for advice from the dalem them if you speak javanese.  It was a mystical place to be.
Outside on the ground we took pictures and observed the beautiful old trees in flower and people collected the bark and leaves to make a tea with ginger, clove and spices. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tales of Genji

My Japanese friends got me these lovely chopsticks stands that feature the figures from the Tales of Genji.  They go so well with higashi.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Me and my subject of study

This is the huge plant of Phytocrene macrophylla in Bogor Botanical Garden.  I was wearing Batik Komar's Megamundung clouds motif.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

back from Java

I will update soon with many pictures of Java.