Jan. 29.

Prajnaparamita of Java


Prajñāpāramitā of Java refer to a famous depiction of Boddhisattvadevi Prajñāpāramitā, originated from 13th century Singhasari, East Java, Indonesia. The statue is of great aesthetical and historical value, and is considered as the masterpiece of classical Hindu-Buddhist art of ancient Java. Today, the statue is one of the prized collection of the National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta.

The statue of Prajnaparamita of East Java is probably the most famous depiction of the goddess of transcendental wisdom. The serene expression and meditative pose and gesture suggest peace and wisdom, in contrast with rich and intricate jewelry and decorations. The goddess is in a perfect lotus meditative position called vajrasana posture, sitting on a double lotus cushion called padmasana (lotus pedestal) on top of a square base. The statue sits before a carved stela.

The goddess performs dharmachakra-mudra (the mudra symbolizing turning the wheel of dharma). Her left arm is placed around an utpala (blue lotus), on top of which sits her atrribute; the lontar palm leaf book Prajnaparamita Sutra. The head and face is perfectly chiseled, with downcast eyes and forehead urna. The goddess wears her hair high arranged in Jatamakuta crown, and behind her head radiates prabhamandala a halo or aura of light to suggest a divinity that has reached the highest wisdom.

The statue was discovered in almost perfect condition in the Cungkup Putri ruins near Singhasari temple, Malang, East Java. Local tradition links the statue to Queen Ken Dedes the first queen of Singhasari, probably as a deified portrayal of the queen. Another opinion links the statue with Queen Gayatri Rajapatni, the consort of Kertarajasa the first king of Majapahit.

Prajnaparamita is a goddess of high standing in Mahayana Tantric Buddhism; she is considered the shakti, or consort, of the highest Buddha in the Buddhist pantheon known as Vajradhara; she symbolises perfect knowledge.

In the 13th century, the tantric Buddhism gained royal patronage of king Kertanegara of Singhasari, and thereafter some of Prajnaparamita statues were produced in the region, such as the Prajnaparamita of Singhasari in East Java and Prajnaparamita of Jambi, Sumatra. Both of East Java and Jambi Prajnaparamitas bear resemblance in style as they were produced in same period, however unfortunately Prajnaparamita of Jambi is headless and was discovered in poor condition.

On the other hand lint ball remover machine, the Prajnaparamita of Singhasari was discovered in almost perfect condition. The pristine condition of the statue indicates that it was buried for quite some time. It was found near Candi E, the southernmost structure in the temple complex near Singhasari temple. The structure is called Candi Wayang or Cungkup Putri by local inhabitants.

The Prajnaparamita of Java was discovered in 1818 or 1819 by D. Monnereau, a Dutch East Indies official. In 1820 Monnereau gave the statue to C.G what is meat tenderizer seasoning.C. Reinwardt, who later brought the statue to the Netherlands, where it became a prized possession of the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden. For more than 158 years the statue was resided in Leiden, the Netherlands.

In January 1978, the Government of the Netherlands returned the statue to the Republic of Indonesia, when Queen Juliana of the Netherlands visited the former Dutch colony. Today, the statue is placed in National Museum of Indonesia. The statue is displayed on 2nd floor Gedung Arca cool water bottles, Indonesian National Museum, Jakarta. It has become perhaps the best known icon of ancient Indonesian art, as one of the rare images that successfully combines aesthetic perfection and spirituality.

Prajñāpāramitā statue from Singhasari, East Java.

Prajñāpāramitā statue from East Java (front).

Prajñāpāramitā statue from East Java (clothing).


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