The soft of gamelan music is heard in every garden corner in the Ullen Sentalu Museum complex. Entering Sela Giri Cave, the fragrance of garden flowers as if hypnotized visitors, and brought old fashion kingdom life.
Ullen Sentalu, is a museum erected on the land with 1,3 ha width in Kaliurang area makes easygoing atmosphere. Unique architecture, looks like European castle with tunnel under the ground and beautiful twisting garden. This museum which is united with the nature was said to be built without cutting off any singletree and only using stones from the ground.
In Javanese language, Ullen Sentalu stands for Ulating Blencong Sejatining Tataraning Lumaku (The light of the lamp is the light of the Life). Museum with Javanese label was opened by Paku Alam VIII in 1997, is much as royal family museum to explore four kingdoms; Yogyakarta, Kasultanan & Pakualaman and Surakarta, Kasunanan & Magkunegaran.
Anyhow this museum tends to show collection related with royal women (wives of kings). In the previous life, royal women were figured out as persons who played essential role in the kingdom.
Although they mostly played the role at the back of the screen and not come out in the political situation, but they construct the Javanese culture and the kingdom as the center.
The wives of the kings would teach the heir how to behave, to communicate, to respect, etc. The pictures hang up on the wall of the museum show us these all.
Beside education, royal women role was to develop the culture such as developing the dance and the batik. The women were the creators of the batik motives showing us high tastes of the batik.
Really, feminism as the ideology bringing women to the life existed in the kingdom era. Unfortunately it did not release till the common people. As the example, Gusti Nurul as the daughter of Mangkunegaran VII (from Surakarta), was the first lady who learned how to ride a horse. She got also western education aiming at transforming western norms. Her pictures are hanging up on wall of the museum.
From the beginning Ullen Sentalu were built with the goal to show the roles of royal women in Javanese kingdoms. This museum brings different atmosphere from other royal museums. In another hand this museum is the only museum showing the history of Mataram kingdom and the importance of women roles in the life.
Taken from Kompas, Nov. 04