Museum Ullen Sentalu, Yogyakarta

Celebrating my 35th birthday,  I come to Ullen Sentalu Museum at Kaliurang, some 40 minutes drive from Yogyakarta’s downtown. I want to immerse myself in the history of Yogyakarta, as the last functional Sultanate in Indonesia.

Ullen Sentalu Musem was owned and operated by private organization. The provide guided tour through the museum, included in the admission fee, in Bahasa Indonesia and English. I find that guided tour is a must here. The collection in Ullen Sentalu does not have any text to describe the paintings or letters, and the guide fill in this missing part much better than written text.

We started from a basement room with paintings as huge as the whole wall. One of the picture shows the Sultan, watching two female dancers dancing in front of him. “The Sultan is the guardian of culture”, our guide said. “They must create a new dance during their tenure to maintain the culture”.

Moving further to another room, we are shown some picture and photos from the past, while our guide explain about the history. Started with a family tree of Mataram Kingdom, the predecessor of Yogyakarta and Surakarta Kingdom. The Giyanti Treaty in 1755 split Mataram Kingdom into Yogyakarta and Surakarta, thus marking the birth o Sultanate of Yogyakarta.

The tour then fast forward to the childhood of Sultan Hamenkubuwono IX. He is the Sultan who see Indonesia through the independence, integrate Yogyakarta into the country, and help the young Indonesian Goverment during the struggle, as far as hosting the Capital of Indonesia. The display shows Hamengkubuwono IX, also known as Bobby, when he was studying in Europe.

From the basement display room, we moved up to outdoor corridor to another room, hosting the poem collection of Tineke. TIneke is western name of Gusti Raden Ajeng Koes Sapariyam, Daughter of Surakarta’s Sultan. I must say that I would like to stay a little while in this room to read through the poet, which was written by TIneke’s friends and family from overseas to cheer her up after her love was forbidden by her family.

There are another room which display various batik motif of Yogyakarta. Each motif has a different meaning. There are one motif called Goromulok, which will help you to realize your dream. Another motif is called Sidomukti, to help you find your spouse and get married. And on the opossite end is Truntung, worn for the broken heart. Is the objective to let people know that when you are wearing Batik Truntung, it means that you just broke up and single?

We have a short break and served with a drink called Jamu Ratu Mas Drank. We use the break to take some pictures at the nearby courtyard, or our son, and family picture.

On the final room of the museum, shows the exhibit of Nyi Roro Kidul, the supranatural queen of the South Beach in Javanese legend. A painting shoes 9 women dancing on a ritual for the Supranatural Queen. “During the ritual, a lot of supranatural things will happen. The light might went off and on. THe tenth dancer might show up, which is the Queen herself. Whatever happen, they need to keep dancing for the ritual”, our guide explain.

We finish our tour today with a coffee at Beukenhoff European Restaurant, which is located at the exit of the Museum. It is decorated in European colonial style, with a terrace overlooking the courtyard inside Ullen Sentalu Museum. On the calm evening with the cool mountain air, we immerse our thought into the history of Yogyakarta that we just heard

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