Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Symbolization in Javanese Culture

Javanese culture is hard to understand, even for Javanese itself. For them whose understand the nature of Javanese culture, they are including on the winasis or waskita (both of these words are mean ‘smart’ in English, but in Javanese language, they have different meaning. The man that called winasis is the man that smart in literary, but the man that called waskita is the man that can see the nature’s symbols or signs, about what will happen in the future, and they know how to change the symbols or signs into clues to face the future life).
Javanese people use symbolization to ease the understanding to the nature, environment, social life, and with the God. For example, for Javanese people, the good leader is a man that fills these criteria: (1) surya (sun), (2) kartika (stars), (3) candra (moon), (4) angkasa (sky), (5) samudra (ocean), (6) maruta (wind), (7) dahana (fire), and (8) bhumi (land). They use the nature elements to make some requirements for the good leader. To understand why they use surya, for example, to be criteria of a leader, it needs a ‘sense’ to understand what the meaning behind the sun is. Sun is the one of the stars in this galaxy. That is the meaning that we learn in school, but why it can be the requirements to choose a good leader?
To understand the hidden meaning of the sun, we have to know the function of the sun first. The sun light is used for plants to produce food. For human, the sun light can make the bone stronger. Nah, from the function, we know that a good leader is a man which is able to give the motivation to the people to live, and use their life to build their country or their region. That is the hidden meaning of the sun. Actually, it is not hidden, but we have to see it from the other view, and then think out of the box. Thus, in this case, the ancient Javanese people are smarter than Javanese people in this time. We can do the same thing to see the hidden meaning of the other criteria.
Other example, Wijayakusuma (kind of flower. It has white color, the size is same with adult hand, and smell only in night. When the sun is coming, this flower start to die) is use to symbolize a kind, charm, and low profile man. Why it can be?
It will be the next edition.


  1. even they can read the symbol, natures' symbol long time before semiotic was introduced by saussure, barthes, etc..
    they are great..



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