G.R.Ay. Koes Muritiyah Paku Buwono is the heir to a tradition of court dance which has continued for 300 years in the royal house of Mataram in central Java. Having had a thorough education in Javanese culture since her childhood, she has striven to introduce traditional court dance widely while supporting the preservation and advancement of central Javanese traditional culture. She has also gained a high reputation internationally as a dancer.
The division of the Mataram Sultanate in Java into two sultanates, Surakarta in Solo and Yogyakarta, was a key stage in its decline. Today Mataram faces the challenges of modernization and globalization, along with other difficult problems, but G.R.Ay. Koes Muritiyah has continued to protect traditional culture, including gamelan music, dance, shadow-play and religious rites, and has made efforts to hand these over to the next generation.
G.R.Ay. Koes Muritiyah, now a representative of central Javanese culture, was born a princess in the Karaton Surakarta in 1960. When she was a child, she began to learn the court dances, which had been handed down from generation to generation in the Javanese court, as the prerogative of royalty. Her talent was recognized early on. During her upbringing as a member of the royal family, she became deeply concerned to ensure the continuation of traditional culture while society and economy were modernized. In 1982, she started to study Javanese literature at Sebelas Maret State University, further deepening her knowledge about the culture of Java.
She recorded and made commercially available a CD of Srimpi Sangapati, a previously esoteric gamelan music piece which had been handed down from generation to generation in the Javanese court, so that central Javanese court culture could continue and its significance could be understood by society. She was also much involved in public performances of Javanese court dances and full-scale gamelan concerts not only in Java but also in Japan, Hong Kong, Europe and the U.S. Through such efforts, there has been a wider understanding and greater appreciation of Javanese court music both home and abroad. Her achievement has been to gain the same sort of international recognition for Javanese traditional culture as had previously been the preserve of Balinese dance.
Besides these activities, as a member of Indonesian People’ s Consultative Assembly, she has played an important role in cultural administration, including the conservation of traditional culture. Having recognized her achievements and efforts, the Sultan of Surakarta appointed her as a general supervisor for the preservation and promotion of court dance.
As an outstanding dancer and also a key figure in the preservation and development of traditional Javanese culture through her work in training successors, G.R.Ay. Koes Muritiyah Paku Buwono is truly worthy of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize.