The ancient Indian epic poem Ramayana has been disseminated throughout large tracts of Southeast Asia since the 9th century. Versions of the epic poem have come to adopt and reflect the unique characteristics of the countries and regions where it has gained cultural currency. The epic has been a source of popular themes in both traditional and contemporary art forms, including literature, performing arts, fine arts, and films.
This book showcases Ramayana theater as a platform where the multiple meanings and senses of values are negotiated. It focuses on the relationships between the cultural representation and the various meanings of Ramayana theater, as well as other dramatic art forms. Focusing on the various contemporary contexts of art performances where the epic poem has been represented, the book also presents the ideologies and moral values contained in the theatrical forms of the epic poem. It discusses various performance contexts, such as diaspora communities, production of popular content culture, cultural diplomacy, designation as intangible cultural heritage, transmission, tourism, and the representation/exhibition of culture, as well as the performance in rituals. It also includes works of three contemporary and inspiring artists: cross-gender dancer Didik Nini Thowok, animator as well as puppeteer Nanang Ananto Wicaksono, and composer Ken Steven.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Multiple Meanings of Ramayana Theater in Contemporary Southeast Asia
Part I Multiple Interpretations of Ramayana
2. The Modern Development of Ramakian, the Thai Ramayana, as Seen in Films by Chaiyo Studio
3. Death of Kumbhakarna: Interpretation of the Story by Dalang of Balinese Wayang
4. Ramayana Theater in Cambodia
Part II Diversified Performance Contexts
5. Ramayana in the Performing Arts: Connection with the Government and Local/National/Global Indian Identity in Singapore
6. Ramayana Theater in Tourism Culture: The Story Presented in the Javanese Dance Drama Form, Sendratari
Part III Represented Ramayana
7. A History of Thai Intellectuals’ Perceptions of Khon, the Masked Dance of Ramayana, on the Modern World Stage
8. Exhibiting Ramayana in a Japanese Museum: Activities of National Museum of Ethnology, Japan
Part IV Commissioned Art Works
9. Art Works
Madoka Fukuoka is a professor of cultural anthropology at the Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan. She completed her BA from Tokyo University of the Arts; MA from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo; and PhD from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI, Japan. She is a member of the Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology, Japan Popular Music Society, International Council for Traditional Music, Society for Ethnomusicology, and Southeast Asian Society. Her research areas include cultural anthropology and folklore, gender studies, philosophy and ethics, aesthetics, and art studies.