wood carving of a temple in Javanese Style, now preserved in the
small, local goverment museum at Tuban.
the only buildings remaining from the Hindu/Javanese period are
the sacred shrines and bathing places, known as candi. These
were built to last, whereas most other structures were made from
perishable materials, such as wood or bamboo. Most of the shrines
which are found scattered throughout the central part of East
Java were monuments to past leaders, heroes and their families.
According to the prevailing custom, when a king or important
royal personage died, funeral ceremonies were carried out, the
ashes of the deceased being scattered in the ocean or river,
after which a temple was built to house an 'ideal portrait statue',
usually an image of a god or the Buddha, whom the departed leader
had represented on earth. Thus Airlangga was portrayed as Vishnu,
Kertanagara as Shiva/Buddha and so on.The temples themselves
were often very finely decorated with relief carvings, telling
well known stories, usually based on Hindu or Buddhist legend.
Javanese architecture from the period was exceptionally refined;
as an eminent scholar once remarked, 'the Javanese took the best
from India and improved on it'.
While the historical
periods of Central and East Java overlap, there are some quite
distinct differences between the two artistic styles, which tended
to grow further apart as time went on. Summing up, one could
say that the temples of Central Java are refined, static and,
ultimately, remote. In East Java everything is on a more human
scale. The artistic style is more dynamic, the character more
essentially 'Javanese', the gods approachable.
At the very
end of the Hindu period the temples of East Java probably looked
much like those found on the island of Bali today; that is, a
series of separate enclosures, with the holiest part of the temple
furthest from the entrance and closest to the mountain, where
the gods were believed to well.
to come under the influence of Hindu and Buddhist civilization
during the early years of the Christian era, through direct contact
with India and the south east Asian mainland. In the following
centuries small Hinduized states arose in Java, the earliest
known being the 5th century kingdom of Taruma, situated near
present day Bogor in the western part of the island. An inscription
dating from A.D. 760 mentions a kingdom of Kanyuruhan, located
near the city of Malang. Discovered at Dinoyo, the inscription
is believed to be connected with Candi Badut, the earliest surviving
Hindu temple in East Java.
Although East Java possesses nothing to match the scale of the
enormous monuments of Borobudur and Prambanan, near Yogyakarta,
the province is exceedingly rich in temple remains; what it lacks
in size, it makes up for in strength and quality of artistic
style. Furthermore, whereas the active period of temple construction
in Central Java lasted for little more than 200 years, the building
of Hindu/ Buddhist monuments continued in East Java until the
Aside from Candi Badut (and Candi Songgoriti at Batu), there
is not much other material evidence from this early period. It
is not until the 11th century, during the reign of King Airlangga,
that building in stone appears to have begun again on a large
scale. We have already mentioned the bathing places of Belahan
and Jolotundo on Mt Penanggungan, built just before or during
Airlangga's reign. This period also saw the flowering of some
of Java's greatest classical literature, adapted from Indian
epic poetry. One of the most famous and best loved stories,the
Arjuna Wiwaha, can be seen carved in stone on the walls of a
cave hermitage near Tulungagung. Known as Gua (cave) Selomangleng,
the man made cave probably dates from the late 10th century and
is similar in age and appearance to Gua Gajah at Bedulu in Bali.