96th Birthday Edition Balinese Bamboo Flute, "Sutasoma"
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This item is available for pre-order and will ship within 2 to 8 weeks. Read more
To celebrate his 96th birthday, Nyoman Lentong has crafted a series of unique bamboo flutes, known in Bali as suling. For this unique flute he finds inspiration in the legendary "Kakawin Sutasoma" poem of Javanese origin. It is usually translated as "Unity in Diversity," for the 14th century poem teaches religious tolerance. Lentong carves the flute by hand with a sharp knife and uses coconut ashes to portray King Sutasoma, Purusada, the tiger and the dragon.
Written by mpu Tantular in the days of the Majapahit empire, "Kakawin Sutasoma" tells the story of Sutasoma, who was the prince of the Hastinapura kingdom as well as Buddha's reincarnation. Pious and devout, he fled the kingdom rather than marry and become a ruler. However, a demon was also meant to be reincarnated, and did so in King Purusada who would only eat human flesh. When he is badly injured, the Hindu goddess Kala promises to heal him if he eats 100 kings. Meanwhile, during his travels Sutasoma encounters a dragon and defeats him but does not kill him, as his faith prohibits him from doing so, and the dragon became his disciple. Later he encountered a tigress about to eat her young, and when Sutasoma couldn't convince her otherwise, he offered himself instead. The tigress jumped on him, sucking all his blood and killing him, and when she realized what she had done she began to cry. God Indra resurrected Sutasoma, and the tigress became his disciple too. Eventually he encountered Purusada, who needed Sutasoma as demanded by the Hindu goddess along with the other 100 kings. Sutasoma didn't resist and instead offered himself. Touched by his sacrifice, after eating Sutasoma, Purusada released the 100 kings.
- 0.16 kgs
- 0.4 lbs
- 61 cm H x 3.4 cm Diam.
- 24" H x 1.3" Diam.
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Lentong is in his late nineties. Much of what he did with ease is now done with difficulty. Rheumatism makes carving difficult. Each of the flutes he now produces are among the last that he will make in his life - the last that he will leave to the world.
Nyoman Lentong is a Keeper of the Arts in the truest sense of the words. He has spent his life creating the traditional bamboo flutes that are a part of Balinese ritual heritage. Lentong taught himself to carve flutes using only a knife but, as he began to refine his art, he applied traditional linear paintings to the surface to merge the arts of painting and music. He continues to teach this art to his son, his grandchildren and his great grandchildren, and in this way he hopes to continue his life's work.
Now in his late 90s, Lentong still relies on the sale of his flutes to survive. The income that he receives from Novica sales provide for most of his daily needs. Just as important, these sales accord him the dignity and self reliance found in the ability to care for oneself.
Although Nyoman is in his nineties, the pain of losing two children in infancy has stayed with him all his life. He treasures his surviving child, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and showers them with care whenever he can.
This artist is an elder master and continues to actively practice their craft.