Kagungan Dalem Gamelan
K. K. MARIKANGEN
Acquired during the Reign of Sultan Hamengku Buwana II
Type: common practice
K.K. Marikangen (End of Yearning) was originally used in the palace during the reign of the Second Sultan by the prajurit (soldiers) Langenkusuma, an all-female division of the palace troops. This set, along with the gamelan pélog K.K. Bremara (which is no longer in the possession of the palace), were reserved for the self entertainment of the Langenkusuma unit. By the reign of the Seventh Sultan the prajurit Langenkusuma apparently no longer existed and the uses of K.K. Marikangen in the artistic life of the palace had been redefined. It was now used to accompany highly refined and symbolically rich female ensemble dances called bedhaya and elaborate dance dramas called ringgit tiyang or wayang wong. Also at this time it became the ensemble of choice to be used for the yearly shadow puppet play (wayang kulit) performance known as bedhol songsong, which marked the end of garebeg Sawal, the palace celebration that takes place at the end of the Muslim month of fasting (Ramadan). In 1925 the Eighth Sultan loaned this set to the palace-sponsored puppeteer school Habirandha, where it remained until the late 1990s when the set was returned to the palace. At some time in the 20th Century the original pre-modern instrumentation of this set was partially modernized with the addition of a few key instruments. Total modernization of its instrumentation and repair and repainting of its casings were underway in 1999. It remains to be seen how K.K. Marikangen will be reintegrated into palace life.
K.K. Marikangen is painted a dark green with detailed highlight in gold, green, brown and purple. A flame motif is used for the borders of the instruments, and some of the instruments have their open spaces filled with carvings of vegetation. The main figural motif for this gamelan is facing makara, mythological creatures that are not infrequently found in Hindu-inspired Javanese decoration. As can be seen in the photo, the gendèr-type instruments in this set have Mataraman style casings. Another feature of this gamelan is the diminutive size of the gongs on its double-row gongchime instruments (bonang), a design feature which perhaps reminds us of the original intended use of this set for performance by women.