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Tarawangsa


Indonesia_A10_Tarawangsa

(from left)
- Tarawangsa from Giri Mukti, Sumedang, West Java.
- The offerings of Tarawangsa performance.
From Sri Hastanto's Collection


Tarawangsa ensemble is played only once a year to accompany a secret dance, Jentreng, in a religious ritual. This ritual is connected to an agricultural ceremony in a special month called Sura (one month in Javanese lunar calender)which is a thanks-giving to the goddess of paddy, Dewi Sri.


Reasons for selection

Tarawangsa is believed to be one ancient species of bowed stringed instrument. In West Java it is also the name of a simple music ensemble that is used for accompanying a secret dance called Jentreng. The dance is a part of a ritual celebrating the goddess of paddy Dewi Sri.


Area where performed

Giri Mukti, Rancak Kalong (part of West Java province)


Essential elements of the performing art

Music, Dance, Ceremony


Detailed explanation

Sumedang is a region in West Java province that is considered as one of the cultural centres in that province. The soil is very fertile so that the region is rich in agricultural products especially rice. As one of cultural centres in West Java Sumedang has many kinds of traditional dance, theater and music. One of the outstanding performing art forms is Jentreng dance that is accompanied by tarawangsa ensemble. This kind of genre originated from a small village Giri Mukti in the district of Rancak Kalong.

In the first month of Javanese lunar year, almost every village in this region holds a thanks-giving ceremony to the goddess of paddy Dewi Sri. The goddess is also known all over Indonesia with many different local names, but she has the same task in the world, that is to look after the paddy fields and protect them from the attack of any kind of pests. On this occasion, the Jentreng dance is performed.

Early in the morning people start to gather all kinds of agricultural products: all kinds of rice i.e. sticky rice, black rice, red rice, white rice, etc.; all kinds of potato; all kinds of fruit; and also all kinds of vegetable from their field. These are then cooked together in a very large metal bowl using coconut milk, salt, white sugar, and palm sugar as the ingredient. The cooking takes almost all day to make a porridge mixture that is called bubur sura ( bubur is porridge, and sura is the name of the month). In the evening the ceremony is held.

Around seven o'clock all the elders in this village come together in the largest house in the village (usually the house of the village leader)followed by other family members. They are praying together thanking the goddess of paddy that she has given protection to their paddy fields. During the praying the tarawangsa music performs some special piece in a very respectful atmosphere. Some women then stand up and start to dance the J entreng dance. The movements are very smooth following the fine melody of tarawangsa. After this dance the people eat the bubur sura together led by the eldest person in the village. After eating, the Jentreng dance continues. The situation, however, is changed from a very solemn atmosphere to a cheerful one. The dance is performed by the youngest until early in the morning.

Tarawangsa ensemble consists of only one two-stringed instrument, the tarawangsa itself, and one plucked instrument called jentreng. The dance's name is actually after the name of the instrument. When the ensemble is performed it will be surrounded by offerings which include all kinds of agricultural product especially paddy. There are also placed two statues of the goddess of paddy, Dewi Sri.


Publication and textual documentation

already available


Audio documentation

very limited (for example purposes only)


Visual documentation

very limited (for example purposes only)


Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

1. Directorate for the Arts, Directorate General for Culture, Department of National Education of Indonesia.
2. STSI (Indonesian Collage of Art)Bandung.


Data provider

Dr. Sri Hastanto
Director for the Arts
Directorate for the Arts, Directorate General for Culture, Department of National Education
Address: Gedung E Lantai-9 Komplek Depdikbud, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia