Sundanese Dancers

Browsing the School of Oriental & African Studies’ Brunei Gallery and find some early colonials’ accounts of Sundanese dancing girls. In years before the colonial era the Sultan’s custom was to keep many young women, performers of traditional dances and other activities – for the pleasure of the men of his court, and for colonial visitors.

Bearing in mind the colonial era extended in some form until the 1960’s, perhaps not entirely surprising then early in the 21st Century to come across some of these ladies while rambling in the volcanic forests above Malang.  By now elderly retirees, being provided for in a communal residence in the countryside – yet still the ladies presented well and with poise and a welcoming smile for the foreigner. A little glimpse back to a lost era …


sundanese dancer