Ulen Sentalu Museum, Jogja, Indonesia

This museum is located on the east of Kali Boyong, Kaliurang, Jogja, Indonesia. This museum has women atmosphere, as to show the identity of royal women that are not known by people and seems to be mystery for among them.This museum was opened in 1997, by KGPAA Paku Alam VIII, who was the governor of Jogja.

The Museum name, Ulen Sentalu, derives from abbreviation of ‘Ulating Blencong Sejatine Lumaku’ , means the true light for human to live their life. It was built on a cold, beautiful area with lush trees in Kaliurang, that is popular as Taman Kaswargan (Paradise Garden). It utilized mountain rock for building material that it took years to finish this museum.

Museum opens from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm, and closes on Monday. This museum has limited resource of local guide. Entering this museum, visitors should be accompanied by guide, because they will need guide to explain collections displayed. Exploring this museum alone can make visitors lost as well. Visiting this museum on holiday will be more comfortable for visitors to come earlier, to avoid queue as the shortage of guide.

The collections were contributed by princesses of Jogja, Surakarta, Mangkunegaran and Pakualam. Other collections are paintings of photo by ISI (Indonesia Art Instititute) Jogja painter and also items contributed by Sultan Palace.

Ulen Sentalu Museum has total 7 rooms including entrance, Guwo Selo Giri, and 5 rooms in kampung kambang. After passing the entrance, then through shady passage to Guwo Selo Giri (means cave with mountain rocky wall). The rocks were taken from Mt Merapi. In the basement that resembles like hallway, there are old pictures of Jogja and Keraton Dancers. None of the dancers are women, as in that very time, women may not dance for public. Young slim men substitute lady dancers and they trully look like keraton princess. In this chamber, visitors will be introduced to outstanding figure such as BRAy. Partini Djayadiningrat, who wrote “Ande-ande Lumut” book that was first published by Balai Pustaka using pen name  Antipurbani. Also displayed photographs of royal family of Sultan HB VII period, taken by keraton photographer, Kasian Cephas. Few of the photographs delineate woman in such sexy-daring poses, that were not common for Javanese women in that period, such as painting entitled ‘Denok’, delineates a common woman posed on humble bed with cloth covering her breast to knees, while the value in that time, women may not rise their jarit (cloth) 3 cm from ankles

There was a princess who was masterly design outfit and  accessories, namely Retno Puwoso,Paku Alam VIII wife, daughter of Paku Buwono X. There is a picture of her wearing kebaya with fur fan that is draped on her neck, and dangled to ankle. This peculiar fan was designed by her. Another picture of her with her husband wearing tie with his royal costume, and guess what, the tie was also designed by her.

There are no princess on photographs wearing ring on their middle fingers. This custom is related to Javanese 5 fingers philosophy, that middle fingers should not be attached to anything.

Pakubuwono X and his queen photograph also displayed here. His queen is the daughter of Sultan Yogyakarta. Actually he already had queen and concubines, as he had no children from the first queen, then he took another queen in 1915. When he reigned, Solo gained its glorious day, signed by numerous building erected in that period, such as Tegalgondo, Pengging, Ampel and Banyubiru house and Pasar Gede Harjonagoro.

The subsequent part is Kampung Kambang, constitutes of few chambers located on big pond, that moving from one to another chambers is like visitors experiencing walk on water surface. The first room on Kampung Kambang is Balai Sekar that is dedicated to GRAj Joes Sapariyam, aka Tineke, who had love that was not blessed and this chamber is the dumb witness of her friends that constantly supported her by mails sent from 1939 to 1947. Most of the letters were made in poems.

The second room on Kampung Kambang is Paes Ageng Yogyakarta. It has selections of javanese bride costume paintings. The painting give detail image of accessories, clothes, and the procession. Guide will explain the philosophies of accessories of bride, such as 5 flowers on head symbolize 5 pillars of Islam and jasmine garland symbolizes fertility, and so on. The third room is called Vorstendlanden Batik that displays Kasultanan Yogyakarta batik collections, from Sultan HB VII-IX and Susuhunan Surakarta from Pakubuwono X to XII. Batik was not allowed to wear by common people,  until Sultan HB IX reign . Each motive of batik has philosophy,  and to pain batik, one should fast and wait for inspiration from supernatural power for batik motive, before starting to draw. Grinsing Mino motive can resist black magic, and Sido Asih Motive shows wive loyalty. Other motives displayed are Sidoluhur, Sidonulyo, Sido Drajad. It said that Parang motive is not good for proposal, marriage or engagement event, as this motive is used for battle, so wearing this motive for those event will yield in bad marriage situation. Motive truntum may not be used to cover corpse, because if it is used so, the corpse will haunt. The forth chamber is Batik Pesisiran, displays selections of Batik from the north shore of Java which have colorful design. This batik do not interest people in the old time as they have no philosophy. Embroidery making can be seen here and how the past embroidery took months as the machine is small and old. In the past, though embroidery kebaya was beautiful, women were not interested to wear, due to the absent of philosophy value of it. This kind of kebaya was used by mix ethnic in Sri Sultan HB VII period, round 1870s. The fifth chamber is Putri Dambaan, that is dedicated to GRAy Nurul Kamaril Ngarasati Kusumawardhani Surjosoejarso, familiar as Gusti Nurul. She was the daughter of HRH Mangkunegoro VIII and GKR Timur Mursudariyah. She was so special princes for having such a beautiful face, loved horse riding, a good dancer, played tennis and good swimmer. She was ever proposed by President Soekarno and Sultan HB IX, but she refused polygamy, and she finally  chose to marry a soldier in her 30.  Collections of her photographs displayed here, and there is a photo of her dancing in the wedding of queen Juliana by teleconference, using telephone to transfer gamelan music that was played in Solo. She danced in front of wedding invitees with her mother gave command by knocks as telephone quality had not been advance. This chamber was officially opened by Gusti Nurul in her 81th birthday.

After that, visitors will have the chance to drink Kusumaya Drink, traditional herb found by one of princesses that has virtue for forever young look. This herb is made of ginger, cinnamon, coconut sugar, salt and pandan.

Tour proceed to artistic garden that is completed with signs so visitors will not be lost. Galery Djagad Akademik, holds painting exhibition regularly under Ulating Blencong Foundation. Visitors can go to Beukenhof Restaurant with colonial architecture, and also souvenir shop.

This museum is such a good media to learn Javanese culture, royal family life, and Javanese philosophies.