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Between two worlds

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  • 1. Between Two Worlds:Ethical Policy, Western education and Javanese artsTjahjono Rahardjo
  • 2. “Al heb ik een uitgesprokenWestersche opvoedinggehad, toch ben en blijf ik in deallereerste plaats Javaan”Accesion speech,Sultan Hamengku Buwana IXof Yogyakarta(1912 – 1988)
  • 3. Outline• Introduction• Javanologie• Javanese culture, Western references• Conclusion
  • 4. Introduction• In 1901 the Netherlands government introducedthe Ethical Policy (Ethische Politiek)• The Ethical Policy had two objectives:1. to put the entire archipelago under the directcontrol of the Dutch government2. to prepare the Dutch East Indies for self-government under Dutch control• As a consequence, there was the need tointroduce Western education to a selected groupof Indonesians
  • 5. Introduction• Amongst Westerneducated Javaneseemerged a culturalnationalism• They establishedorganizations aimedat promotingindigenous arts andculture
  • 6. Javanologie• Previously, the Dutch saw‘native‘ arts through Calvinisteyes, as signs of Orientaldecadence• During the Ethical era, withthe emergence of Javanology(Javanologie), the translationand analysis (in Dutch), ofthings ‘Javanese’ started• ‘Javanese’: worthstudying, replicating anddisseminating as seen from aWestern viewpoint“Djawa”Driemaandelyksch TydschriftOrgaan van het Java Instituut
  • 7. Javanologie • The Dutch educatedJavanese were aware ofthis• Their culturalorganizations focused onthe arts of the kratonwhich was seen as worthstudying, replicating anddisseminating.• Very little attention waspaid to the art of thecommon people• The common people hadto be educated toappreciate court artBedhayaMangkunagaran Palace 2013
  • 8. Javanologie• But even court artsdid not automaticallyqualify as “high art”• Wayang wong forexample, had to bestriped of signs of“oriental decadence,”such as transvestismWayang Wong, Kraton Yogyakarta 1937
  • 9. Javanese culture, Western referencesGamelanSoorjo Poetro, a gamelanexpert and formerstudent at theTechnische Hoogeschool(THS) in Delft tried toformulate theories ofJavanese music usingEuropean models “Ladrangan Wiro Brodjo”Stave notation by Soorjo Poetro
  • 10. Javanese culture, Western referencesWayangNoto Soeroto tried toexplain the reasons whywayang figures haveexaggerated proportionsusing Ancient Egyptian,Mycenaean and Assyrianreferences
  • 11. Conclusion• Their Western education aroused the youngJavanese intellectuals to a cultural nationalismbut also made them realize that someelements of their culture did not fit into amodern, democratic society• They set out to revitalize Javanese arts andculture, by setting up art societies
  • 12. Conclusion• They depended very much on Western models• By using Western models they hoped thattheir Dutch peers will acknowledge thatJavanese culture is equal to Western culture• This also indicated their own anxiety anduncertainty.
  • 13. Conclusion• These early Javanese cultural nationalistshave written much about Javanese culturein Dutch for a Dutch audience, butunfortunately little for their owncompatriots.• Their ideas are now unknown toIndonesians of today who do notunderstand Dutch anymore