Southeast Asian art and architecture:

Indonesian Art

On the islands of Indonesia, there have been found artifacts from the Dongson culture, including the famous bronze drum known as the Moon of Bali, the largest of the rain drums. The culture of the Indonesian islands was strongly influenced by India. The great dynasty of Shailendra (776–864) from central Java made its influence known as far north as Cambodia. Sculptures from 9th-century Hindu temples in central Java show the influence of Indian models. Chandi Mendut, c.AD 800, is a Buddhist shrine incorporating many bas-reliefs which show the Javanese interest in sinuous forms and elegant composition.

The supreme achievement of Indonesian art is the monument of Borobudur, an architectural monument and cosmic diagram in one, built in the 8th cent. Receding terraces mount skyward and support on their walls bas-relief sculptures of great beauty and refinement. Buddhas appear at intervals along the walls, and the highest terraces house 72 Buddhas in stone latticework stupas. Bronze sculptures of Buddhist figures made after the 8th cent. continue the style of Borobudur. In the 11th cent. rock-cut reliefs continue the Javanese sculptural tradition. With the advent of Islam in the 15th cent., figural sculpture was abandoned and ornamentation of mosques took over the Indonesian interest in architectural embellishment. Modern Indonesia has taken a renewed interest in traditional crafts and art forms.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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