Reog and Warog are performance arts and the remaining legend from East Java. It was once claimed to be the cultural heritage of Malaysia.
Indonesian people once expressed strong reaction to the website of Malaysian Arts and Heritage Ministry exposing picture of peacock chest mask, which is commonly used in reog (Javanese mask dance) show, and naming the icon as the Malaysian culture heritage. It is apparent that on the chest of tiger head mask with peacock feather on the top reads a word “Malaysia’.
Thousand of reog artists protested it and rushed towards the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta. Reog has so far been recognized as the original arts of Indonesia from Ponorogo, East Java.
However, Malaysia Ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Zainal Abidin Muhammad Zain argued that what they claimed as the Malaysian’s is not reog, but rather the mask dance. He also admitted mask dance, which according to them is part of the Prophet Solomon tale when tiger and peacock are interacting to each other, is the Javanese people dance which was brought to Malaysia and frequently presented at Batu Pahat, Johor, and Selangor.
Continue Living to Tell the Tale
Strong opposition staged by people of Indonesia here shows their high concern about reog as one of the cultural arts from East Java, particularly Ponorogo. Amidst the fast moving era, reog art still survives and gets recognition. It has developed not simply in the origin but also up through to Sumatra., Kalimantan. It is neither to wonder that it spreads up to Malaysia and Suriname.
When Malaysia claimed that it is the mask instead of reog as the possessions of Malaysia, it implies that they do not understand mask is part of reog. Dhadha Merak (literally peacock chest) or barongan is the large-sized mask with 2.25 meters in length, 2.30 meters in width, and 50 kilograms in weight. Ordinary people will find it hard to perform, let alone it is done while dancing.