Towards the end of 18th century, on 5 Jumadilawal 1716 Saka (1790), Pakubuwana IV (1788-1820) established the alas-alasan ornamental motif of Pinarada Mas as restricted motive, a motive that is considered sacred.
According to Drs. Guntur, M. Hum., a lecturer of Indonesian Art Institute of Surakarta, the alas-alasan ornamental motif was rooted in supernatural and mystical conceptions about the forest and mountain.
Forests and mountains are central and fundamental sites, on which the faith and way of life of the Javanese are established. Together with the South Sea, the forest (Krendhawahana), and mountain (Merapi and Lawu), it becomes cosmic pillar of Surakarta Palace. "Supernatural vision toward the forest and mountain becomes the driving force and keeper of the symbolic and aesthetic creations of batik from Surakarta Palace," he said on Thursday (14/10), in his open examination of UGM doctoral program.
Shielded behind royal authority, Guntur said that alas- alasan ornamental motif is free from change all the time. This motif can only be used by the king, the bride, and dancers of Bedhaya Ketawang at Surakarta Palace. It is a monopoly which is restricted to ordinary people except the king and his family. The special designation makes the motif as one of the heirloom among other ceremonial objects or regalia, which is historically and culturally always used as a costume dance of Bedhaya Ketawang in the ritual of the king crowning (jumenengan) and the anniversary of the coronation of the king in Surakarta Palace.
"That is why Bedhaya Ketawang dance is categorized as a ceremonial dance, which is believed to be created by the spirit of Kanjeng Ratu Kidul (The Queen of South) who is always presents and is involved in the dance practices. Not only the myth of creation becomes the sacred basis of Bedhaya Ketawang dance, but also the ornamental motif inherent in the dance costume," he said.
Defending his dissertation Alas-alasan Ornamental Motif on Batik in the Ritual Tingalan Jumenengan and Marriage in Surakarta Palace: A Study of Form, Function, and Meaning, the husband of Atik Kusmiati explained that Bedhaya Ketawang contains religious values so that it is classified as a religious dance. The dance is believed to be a profound love expression of the South Sea ruler, The Queen of South or The Queen of Kencana Sari, to Sultan Agung so it is categorised as dance of romance. In another part of his speech, Guntur said alas-alasan ornamental motif is also the representation of protection. In the context of marriage, this motif represents the "king", unfolding universe, hope, protection, and fertility. The motif is the aesthetic and symbolic expression.
Both are based on the important conception of forest and/or mountain, which is a mystical belief, historical consciousness in an effort to achieve harmony between people, environment, and God. "Essential and fundamental basis of aesthetic creation is interwoven on the motif and makes it meaningful," the father of Mandira Citra Perkasa and Sekar Ayu Asmara said. He graduated from UGM Doctoral Program of Performing Arts.