What is Buto Cakil?

“Buto Cakil” is a character from Javanese mythology, prominently featured in traditional Indonesian shadow puppet theater, known as Wayang Kulit. This character is often depicted as a giant or demon (rakshasa) and is characterized by his fearsome and menacing appearance. Buto Cakil is typically portrayed as an antagonist in the Wayang performances, representing the forces of evil and darkness. He is known for his strength and is often depicted in battle scenes, usually against the story’s hero, like Arjuna or other Pandawa brothers from the Mahabharata epic.

Also known as: Butha, Buto, Cakil

Butha Kala
What is the significance of Buto Cakil in Javanese culture?

Buto Cakil is a symbol of evil and chaos in Javanese mythology. His character in Wayang performances serves as a moral lesson about the battle between good and evil.

How is Buto Cakil depicted in Wayang Kulit performances?

In Wayang Kulit, Buto Cakil is portrayed with exaggerated and grotesque features, often with a large, fierce face, and formidable body, symbolizing his demonic nature.

Does Buto Cakil always represent evil in the stories?

Yes, Buto Cakil is almost always portrayed as an evil character, opposing the virtuous heroes of the Wayang plays.

Are there specific stories or epics where Buto Cakil is a central character?

Buto Cakil appears in various stories within the Wayang Kulit tradition, often in the adaptations of the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, where he battles against the protagonists.

Can Buto Cakil be seen in other forms of Indonesian art or culture?

Besides Wayang Kulit, Buto Cakil’s influence extends to other artistic forms in Indonesia, including dance, visual arts, and literature, often as a symbol of malevolence and moral challenge.


Buto Cakil, a character from Javanese mythology, possesses several fascinating aspects that make him a unique and intriguing figure in Indonesian cultural traditions. Here are some interesting facts about Buto Cakil:  
  • Visual Distinction: Buto Cakil's appearance in Wayang Kulit (shadow puppetry) is striking and distinctive. He is often depicted with a large, terrifying face, sharp fangs, and a robust, muscular body, which are meant to instill fear and represent his demonic nature.
  • Symbol of Evil and Chaos: In Javanese mythology, Buto Cakil symbolizes the embodiment of evil and chaos. He is often pitted against noble heroes, serving as a physical representation of the moral and ethical challenges they face.
  • Duality of Nature: Despite being a symbol of evil, Buto Cakil’s character is also important in highlighting the duality of good and evil in Javanese philosophy. His presence in stories serves to emphasize the importance of balance and the complexity of human nature.
  • Role in Teaching Morality: In the traditional Wayang performances, Buto Cakil is not just an antagonist; his character is also used as a tool for teaching moral values. The stories involving him often conclude with moral lessons about the triumph of good over evil.
  • Influence Beyond Wayang: Buto Cakil's influence extends beyond Wayang Kulit. Elements of his character can be found in other Indonesian art forms, including traditional dances and theatrical performances, where his fearsome persona is often invoked.
  • Cultural Resonance: The character of Buto Cakil resonates deeply within the Javanese culture, reflecting the cultural and spiritual beliefs of the people. He is a staple character in many Javanese festivals and ceremonies, often used to convey cultural narratives and spiritual teachings.