Associations with Sultans

Every palace gamelan is thought of by members of the palace community as having entered the social and cultural domain of the kraton during the reign of a particular sultan. This association between a sultan’s reign and a particular gamelan not only provides contemporary individuals with information about the general age of the gamelan, but more importantly reminds them that the gamelan was an actor in the network of human and material-object relationships during a specific epoch in the history of Yogyakarta and the house of Hamengku Buwana. Implied here is that a gamelan is itself a part of the aura of a particular sultan and his court, and this sense of unity between object and ruler is permanent. Interestingly, it does not seem to matter whether a set was commissioned by a sultan and came into being during his reign or was manufactured earlier and brought into the palace sphere already with some history. What is important seems to be the bond between the personas of a gamelan and a sultan–that is what endures and what generates an aura about a gamelan in the minds of generations to follow. Gamelans documented on this site entered the palace sphere during the reigns listed in the chart that follows. If nothing else, the dates of these reigns convey the time depth of some of the palace gamelans.

First Sultan Hamengku Buwana I 1755-1792
Second Sultan Hamengku Buwana II 1792-1812; 1826-1828
Fifth Sultan Hamengku Buwana V 1823-1826; 1828-1855
Sixth Sultan Hamengku Buwana VI 1855-1877
Seventh Sultan Hamengku Buwana VII 1877-1921
Eighth Sultan Hamengku Buwana VIII 1921-1939
Tenth Sultan Hamengku Buwana X 1989-