Jaka Tarub dan Tujuh Bidadari/Joko Tarub and the seven ‘angels’
Solo, Central Java, Indonesia
Place of Acquisition
Taman Hiburan Rakyat, Jl. Slemat Riyadi, Solo, Central Java, Indonesia
Name Painter (Place and Year of Birth-Death)
62cm x 47cm
Tales & Legends
Palermo, Italy (Home)
The tale of Jaka Tarub and the seven bidadari (‘angels’ or female spirits) is a common theme of glass paintings in Central Java.
Jaka Tarub was a young man who, as the legend said, would later be the patriach of Central Java’s Kingdom of Mataram (1588—1681) through his daughter, Retno Nawangsih. There are many versions but the core of the story is the same. This story is written in Babad Tanah Jawi, an old manuscript which chronicles the history of The Kingdom of Mataram.
Somewhere in Dadapan Village there was a pond where bidadari descended from heaven to take a bath. While searching for a deer, Jaka Tarub he heard the sound of girls laughing and saw seven beautiful girls bathing. Jaka sneaked out and took one of the shawls lying on a rock nearest to him. After the bidadari finished bathing, one of them, Nawang Wulan, could not find her shawl and could not fly back to heaven. Jaka Tarub eventually showed himself and pretended to offer his help and invited her to his home. Eventually the two fell in love and got married and had a child. Nawang Wulan performed all her domestic tasks easily and there was always enough rice. She only forbade Jaka to look inside the rice cooker.
Out of curiosity one day Jaka opened the lid of the rice cooker and found out that Nawang Wulan only used one single grain of rice to cook and with her bidadari powers could easily do all household chores. After Jaka peeked inside the rice cooker. Nawang Wulan lost her powers and became an ordinary human being. Then unintentionally saw her old shawl lurking from below their now diminished rice supply. She was angry, and decided to return to heaven despite Jaka’s pleas. Before she went, Nawang Wulan asked Jaka to build a hut outside their house and told him to leave Nawangsih there every night, and that he should never look inside the hut while she was there to nurse the baby. Since then Jaka took Nawangsih to the hut every night until she grew up.