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Hee Sook Lee-Niinoja: Preislamic Motifs in Javanese Mosque Ornam

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Hee Sook Lee-Niinoja: Preislamic Motifs in Javanese Mosque Ornam

This is done by investigating four pre-Islamic motifs in Javanese mosque ornamentation from the 15th century to the present day. The research starts with a belief that typical Javanese ornaments were consistently used both in pre-Islamic Hindu-Buddhist temples and Islamic mosques in Indonesia. This phenomenon was a result of syncretic Javanese Islam, composed of mystic animism, Hindu-Buddhism, and Islam, which differed from orthodox Islam in the Near East and Arab world.

Among many ornaments, the most frequent four motifs are prehistoric tumpals, Hindu-Buddhist kala-makaras, lotus buds, and scrolls, all of which have symbolic connotations and are used to decorate sanctuaries. Tumpals signify the Cosmos Mountain where gods abode; kala-makaras protect temples where the gods are believed to reside; lotus buds denote life and creation; and scrolls imply the start of life.

For a comparison between temple and mosque ornamentation, 10 Hindu-Buddhist temples and 30 mosques were purposively selected, and a representative sample of each motif was taken during the researcher’s fieldwork. In addition, 20 Indonesian scholars were interviewed to identify the origins of motifs in Javanese mosques.

  • ISBN 978-606-8082-02-8
  • 312 pagini 13 x 20 cm
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