Malang mask dance is an inherited traditional theatncal art performance. What is interesting about the mask dance is that all the dancers representing some characters wear masks. The characters in Malang theatrical mask dance are 64 and they play the roles of 64 figures in Panji tales. Decoratively, Malang masks are unique. They are different from any other mask art found in Java. There are five typical colurs used to deco rate the masks. The red colour symbolizes courage, the black colour symbolizes determined ambitions, the yellow colour symbolizes wisdom, the white colour indicates purified character and the green colour indicates peace.
The main colour decorating the mask worn by a dancer tells about the character of the story figure played by the dancer. Malang theatrical mask dance is often performed in fragments the story of which are taken from Panji tales which are common traditional folklores that are also found in many parts of Indonesia such as Lombok, Bali, Sumatera and Java islands, and also in Thailand.
The main figure of the tales is Pandji Asmorobangun, and the typical, phylosophical themes of the tales are that the bad are always de feated by the truth, eventhough there are a lot of sacrifices and miseries during the struggling process. In the story it is narrated that Panji Asmorobangun had to wander to get his spouse. In his life, it is told that there was a king who wanted to marry Dewi Ragil Kuning, the lover of Raden Gunung Sari from Jenggolo Manik.To know the real truth, one should undergo a process i.e. a war. The final result of the war will prove that the truth can always overcome, and can defeat the bad things.
To see the theatrical mask dance you have to go to Malang, which is about 90 kilometers to the south of the capital of the East Java Province, i.e. Surabaya. The center of Malang mask dance is Kedung Monggo village, Karang Pandan, Pakisaji district, Malang regency. It is about 15 kilometers to the south of Malang town.