AM E094629 Kerta Gosa

Mangku Muriati, active -, 5 works

Painted in Kamasan

Kerta Gosa
"The title (judul) of the painting is ‘Kerta Gosa’ referring to the newer Klungkung palace though the painting begins in the Gelgel palace where the reigning king Dalem Gelgel is tiring of the regular visits made by Danghyang Astapaka, a brahmana Buda priest. The brahmana of Bali are divided into two groups and the two kinds of priests, Siwa and Buda, are usually said to be elder and younger brother. They possess different types of power and perform different roles during ritual. Mangku Muriati stated that Danghyang Astapaka is older brother to Danghyang Nirartha, the common ancestor of the brahmana Siwa but in some genealogies (babad) Astapaka is given as the nephew of Nirartha (Wiener 1995: 124-25). The two priests can be identified by their turbans (ketu) and long coats but the turban of Astapaka has a protruding garuda head on the rear (garuda mungkur), the same ornament that marks the crown (gelung) of the king. Narrative is based on a poem (geguritan) that Mangku Muriati heard on the radio, a relatively accessible genre bacause it was recited in modern Balinese which does not require an interpreter to translate or explain the words. "
"Begins in the bottom left hand corner, the king and his retainers, bored by the visiting brahmana, set a trap by hiding a goose in the well besides the palace shrine (mrajan) and on his next visit they ask him to guess what is inside. The immensely powerful (sakti) Danghyang Astapaka knows he is being tested and tells them it is a dragon (naga). Confident that he is mistaken the court retainers reply that he will be punished by death if they uncover the lid to discover otherwise. When the lid is removed to reveal a dragon the king is struck with guilt at his misdemeanour against the priest. The same trick is said to be the origin of the dragon effigy (naga banda) at royal cremations, an act once purportedly performed exclusively by Brahmana Buda priests whose deadly arrow puts an end to the havoc wreaked by the dragon upon emerging from the well. Danghyang Astapaka then takes the king on a trip to the heavenly abode of Indra, depicted as the two pavilions (bale) in the top left hand corner of the painting. Dalem Gelgel admires the pleasure garden (taman gili) surrounded by pavilions and on his return to earth resolves to model a new palace on what he saw. The palace he has built is shown in the top right hand corner of the cloth as the final scene of the painting and Dalem Gelgel commissions paintings for the ceilings to describe what he witnessed during his visit to heaven and the fate begetting malevolent souls. The latter is a reference to the Bima Swarga story of liberation depicted at the Kerta Gosa. Mangku Muriati has also replicated the actual Kerta Gosa by including the table and chair ensemble used by the aristocrats who dispensed justice there. The two pavilions are the Kerta Gosa and Bale Kambang & are identical in appearance to the homes of the deities she painted on the left. In visual terms there is no difference between the abodes of rulers and those of the gods, the impression that the Dewa Agung intended at the beginning of the eighteenth century when the royal palace was built at Klungkung and named ‘Smarapura’ meaning ‘abode’ (pura) of the ‘God of Love’ (Smara)."
Acrylic & ochre on cotton cloth