Indonesian Arts

Indonesian art, the art in the field of Indonesia. According to businesscarriers, the art of the old Indonesians (Southeast Asian peoples and cultures) essentially testifies to the cultof souls, ancestors and the dead. In the artistic processing of wood (including sculptures, decorations for the houses), textiles and metal goods (weapons, jewelry), appropriate motifs and symbols are used again and again.

Parts of Indonesia, especially Java and Bali, Sumatra and Celebes, came into contact with currents of Indian culture as early as the first centuries AD. Bronze figures of the Buddha from the 5th / 6th centuries are among the earliest surviving artistic evidence in Indonesia. Century in the style of Gupta art, found at Sampaga on Celebes and Kotabangun on Borneo.

Indo-Javanese art

Java’s art between the 7th and 15th centuries is called Indo-Javanese because its content is shaped by the Indian religions. Initially influenced in style by the Indian art schools of the Gupta, Pallava and Pala periods, it developed strong independent features from the 9th century.

Major works of the Central or Middle Javanese period (750-900; named after the residence of the rulers in the center of the island) are the Shivaite Candis (Candi) on the Dieng plateau, the Gedong Songo temple group on the Ungaraberg, the Lara Jonggrang temple complex near Prambanan and the Buddhist ones Candis Borobudur (around 800), Pawon and Mendut in the Kedu Plain and Kalasan, Sewu, Plaosan and Sari near Prambanan. There are v. a. Buildings with multi-terraced plinths, cellas and pyramidal roofs. In addition to their function as Buddhist or Hindu temples, they are also places of remembrance and worship of the royal ancestors, whose ashes were buried there. The most important Shivaitic sanctuary in Central Java is the Lara Jonggrang (Prambanan) temple complex from the beginning of the 10th century. It exemplifies the independence of Javanese art that has been gained in stone and bronze art since the 9th century.

In the 10th century the east of Java became a political and cultural center. The kingdoms of Singhasari and Majapahit arose here in the 13th century. The most important Candis of the Singhasari period (1222–93) are the Candis of Kidal, Jago and Singhasari. The rich relief decoration reveals a stylistic similarity to the shadow play figures of the wayang. Few temples have survived from the Majapahit period (1293 to around 1520), as brick and wood were now the predominant building materials. But there are still remains of stone temples in Panataran; The »year number temple«, dated 1369, has been completely restored.

The unglazed terracotta and stucco work of this time are particularly attractive. Parts of architectural decor have been preserved, v. a. but a multitude of human and animal figures of high expressiveness and originality from the secular realm.

The extremely close connection between Shaivism and Buddhism is characteristic of the East Javanese period, so that the highest deity has been named Shiva-Buddha since the 13th century. The ancestor worship now gained greater importance, the royal ancestors were worshiped in the images of the gods, some of which are to be understood as portrait statues.

The shadow play figures, stick puppets, masks and scroll paintings of the wayang, in which autochthon-old Javanese and Hindu-Buddhist elements have mixed, are a very unique form of expression of Javanese art. The gradual Islamization since the 16th century caused the figures to take on the appearance of bizarre spirit beings because of the ban on depicting divine persons.

The art of Islam in Java (from the 16th century) is limited, in accordance with the ban on images, to architecture, v. a. to mosques and cemeteries (e.g. Sendangduwur in the east), which in the early days were still characterized by Javanese forms.

Balinese art

Unlike Java, Bali was not Islamized, so Balinese art preserved both pre-Indo-Javanese and Balinese-Hindu traditions and forms to the present day. The very numerous Balinese temples for gods, for the cult of the dead (ancestors) and for fertility cults are usually divided into three courtyards, with the main sanctuary, the Meru, in the third courtyard and, richly adorned with polychrome reliefs, the Seat of deity contains; the main gate is designed in the shape of the Candi bentar. The greatest sanctuaries are Pura Besakih on the southern slope of Gunung Agung, the royal tombs carved into the rock near Tampaksiring and the elephant cave (Goa Gajah) near Bedulu. The temple of Pejeng shows how strongly Bali was influenced by Java.

The painting on palm leaf, animal skin and fabric as well as the handicrafts (carvings, small figures made of different materials, batik work, shadow play figures and masks) are extremely fine works and have always served the Balinese form of Hinduism, mixed with old dead, ancestral and fertility cults.

Indonesian Arts

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