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Supposedly; Jepara carvings, the legacy of Sungging Prabangkara

During the Majapahit Kingdom, when the King of Brawijaya was in power, there is a story of a very famous painter and sculptor. His name is Sungging Prabangkara. Many works and paintings have been produced by Sungging Prabangkara. Sungging Prabangkara is told as a courtier of the Majapahit Kingdom who has special expertise in the arts. So famous Sungging Prabangkara, until he was assigned to paint and sculpt in the Kingdom of China. As a delegation of Majapahit, of course Sungging Prabangkara took the opportunity.

As a painting artist, Sungging Prabangkara was also sent to visit the Kingdom of Galuh Padjajaran to paint the beauty of Princess Dyah Ayu Pitaloka. Because of the beauty and resemblance of the painting to the figure of the princess, finally the King of Majapahit wanted to marry Princess Dyah Ayu Pitaloka.

Sungging Prabangkara is said to have studied carving in China, but he had basic skills as a painter. The story of Sungging Prabangkara was told by Legisan, a Jepara carving craftsman when the team visited his Adi Putra Galeri workshop in the Mulyoharjo area of ​​Jepara.

In the Chinese empire, Sungging is told to be told to paint a king's consort in a naked state. The painting was so beautiful and detailed that a mole was depicted on the empress's womanhood. Seeing the painting, the King was angry because he knew that Sungging Prabangkara had betrayed the King's wishes by indecently painting the forbidden part.

Because of his mistake, the King ordered Sungging to paint the Chinese Empire from above. In ancient times there was no tool that could see objects from a height. So the king ordered the soldiers to fly a very large kite. This kite later became Sungging's medium to see the Chinese imperial buildings from above. However, due to strong winds, disaster ensued. Some of Sungging's heirlooms fell and flew. The flying heirlooms are said to have fallen in Mulyoharjo behind the mountains of Jepara, Pasuruan, and Bali.

The heirlooms belonging to Sungging Prabangkara, which fell in three different areas, later became the forerunners for the people of Jepara, Pasuruan, and Bali to continue the art of carving. The heirlooms are then developed into several chiseled or inlaid blades.

The heirlooms in the form of inlay, in Jepara, were developed with a total of 30 inlays consisting of 10 blades of silat chisels and 20 blades of pengkuku. As for the additions, among others, 4 scribbled inlay blades, 7 bent scribbled encrusted blades. 10 cabbage encrusted blades, 2 bent cabbage encrusted blades. 7 blades of propyl encrusted, 6 blades of crooked chisel inlay, 4 blades of stud encrusted and 5 pieces of feather inlay. Each chisel or carving knife has a different function, resulting in a high-value carving.

Legisan started the business in 2011, after traveling overseas from 1990 to various areas such as Lamongan, Malang, Banyuwangi and Bali. Overseas, Legisan works to carve, and teaches carving to the local community. Since returning to Jepara, in 2011, Legisan has opened a business by starting arowana fish carving. The wood material used is Teak wood and other wood depending on customer demand.

The engraving process has several processes including sawing, shaping, and starting the engraving process which is in a complex stage. After finishing, the finishing process is done by spraying melamine on the carving. The melamine spraying process has two motifs, namely natural and dove. The finished carving will clearly see the wood grain.

For products exported to China, finishing is not done. According to Legisan, finishing techniques in China are better than those in Jepara. Even though China used to be a place of learning for Sungging Prabangkara, now they are importing from Jepara. This is actually not a matter of carving skills, but the raw materials in China are gone. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, raw materials can be obtained from Klaten, East Java and Palembang. Legisan uses tembesi wood or known as joko kesat as a carving medium.

In running the carving business, Legisan strives to meet market demand. Market demand is usually the type of carved arowana fish, whose markets are mostly in Korea, Thailand, and China. A request like this is the hope of every carving artist. However, in the midst of large market demand, Legisan feels the lack of human resources, even according to him it is almost extinct, especially from the younger generation.

For a carved arowana fish, it is sold starting at IDR 2.5 million depending on the buyer, whether from the area of ​​origin or from outside the area. Legisan lives in the central area of ​​the Mulyoharjo carving industry. This area was once famous around the world a few years ago, for making the work of carving Tiger Brackets, carving tigers in bars.

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