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Srikandi

Dewi Wara Srikandi is the daughter of Prabu Drupada of Cempalareja. As a young girl she goes to Arjuna to study archery. She later becomes his wife. The following is the story of Srikandi when she studies archery with Arjuna :
When Arjuna and Dewi Wara Sumbadra are married, Srikandi is in attendance and she watches with fascination the attitudes and actions of the bridal pair. She ardently wishes to become a bride Rarasati, how to use a bow and arrow. Srikandi goes to Arjuna and asks to be instructed as well; her real reason, however is her desire to meet the attractive young Arjuna. Srikandi’s boldness is very disturbing to her elder sister, Dewi Drupadi (Prabu Puntadewa’s days it was considered improper for a virgin to even see a prospective suitor. Nowadays, of course, it is quite common for unmarried girls to socialize with their suitor.)

The King of Parangkubarja, Prabu Jungkungmardea, asks for Dewi Wara Srikandi’s hand from her father, Prabu Drupada. Drupada is pleased with the match, but Srikandi is horrified and flees to Raden Arjuna. Arjuna defends the young girl and defeats Jungkungmardea in a battle to the death. He and Srikandi are then married at a huge, joyous ceremony.

Srikandi’s character is decidedly masculine*): she adores the excitement of battle and she is famed as a warrior. It is common to refer to women who actively fight for a principle (e.g., the liberation of the Indonesian nation) as “Srikandi.”

Srikandi helps to guard the country of Madukara. Her manner and speech are charming and often amusing. When she is angry, her anger is not always outwardly visible, but she can easily instill fear in her enemies. She is easily enraged but her anger is just as easily dispelled. When she is angry she prepares herself some rujak (a very spicy mixture of fresh fruits and sweet-spicy sauce) which she eats as she unleashes a torrent of violent words; she s also known to throw things and break them when in a rage, and on one occasion she releases all of Arjuna’s prized kutut doves. The dalang’s description of Srikandi’s rage is almost always a source of delight for the audience.
During the Baratayuda Srikandi becomes commander of the armies and slays the Kurawa commander, Bisma, in battle. Srikandi is a female warrior who always defends the honor of her husband whether in peace or war. Srikandi is killed towards the end of the Baratayuda by Durna’s son, Aswatama; her head is cut off as she is soundly sleeping.

Srikandi has jaitan eyes, a pointed nose and her head is raised indicating that she has a piercing voice. Her hair is worn in the sanggul gede top-knot with a portion of her hair untied. She wears a diadem with the garuda in back, as well as the bulan sabit necklace. She wears the kain dodot putren dress (the traditional dress for a woman within the kraton.)

(Sumber: Sejarah Wayang Purwa. Hardjowirogo. Jakarta: Perpustakaan Perguruan Kementerian P.P. dan K., 1955)

Publisher: Lontar Foundation;

Created: 2014

Source Rights: Ki Purbo Asmoro

Manuscript Code: LF-Srikandi-1.kl_P5050770.jpg

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