Synopses & Reviews
andlt;bandgt;With vivid photography, and insightful commentary, this travel pictorial shines a light on the Buddhist art and architecture of Borobudur.andlt;/bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The glorious ninthand#8211;century Buddhist stupa of Borobudurand#8212;the largest Buddhist monument in the worldand#8212;stands in the midst of the lush Kedu Plain of Central Java in Indonesia, where it is visited annually by over a million people.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Borobudur contains more than a thousand exquisitely carved relief panels extending along its many terraces for a total distance of more than a kilometer. These are arranged so as to take the visitor on a spiritual journey to enlightenment, and one ascends the monument past scenes depicting the world of desire, the life story of Buddha, and the heroic deeds of other enlightened beingsand#8212;finally arriving at the great circular terraces at the top of the structure that symbolize the formless world of pure knowledge and perfection.
Ninth-century Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world, is one of the most complex structures erected in ancient times. Built by Java's Buddhist rulers, it served as a pilgrimage point to teach the masses about the nature of human suffering, reincarnation, and enlightenment. This richly illustrated volume provides a comprehensive introduction to Borobudur's history and symbolism, including the Buddhist tales depicted in the 1,460 exquisite relief panels that line the lower terrace walls.
While ancient Javanese bronze and ironwork have long elicited interest, there is a lesser-known yet equally fascinating aspect of the Indonesian island's history: gold artifacts, including jewelry, clothing accessories, statues, coins, and containers. Not only do these objects display exceptional craftsmanship, they also provide a significant source of information on Javanese society, culture, religion, economy, technology, and art from the 1st century bce to 1500.
This revised and expanded edition of the 1990 publication Old Javanese Gold celebrates Valerie and Hunter Thompson's 2007 gift of Javanese gold objects to the Yale University Art Gallery and the subsequent founding of the Department of Indo-Pacific Art. Along with entirely new photography and a fresh design, the book's essays have been updated to incorporate recent discoveriesincluding the Wonoboyo hoard, one of the most important gold hoards ever excavated in Southeast Asia.
About the Author
John Miksic is Associate Professor, Southeast Asian Studies Program, at the National University of Singapore.