Edition: 1986 & 2015
Size: 18.00 X 11.50 INCH & 9.50 X 7.50 INCH
Barabudur, the most magnificent monument in Java, Indonesia, is a colossal structure justly regarded as a veritable wonder by the whole world. This noble architecture, built in the early ninth century A.D. consists of nine gradualy receding terraces, three uppermost ones being encircled by rings of stupas, each containing an image of the Buddha within a perforated framework. The five lower terraces are encircled by four successive galleries which contain eleven series of sculptured panels depicting the life of the Buddha and other Buddhist stories. The total number of sculptured panels in the galleries is about 1500. Not only this massive grandeur but the fine quality of the immense decorations, extensive relief sculptures and the numerous images of the Buddha deeply impress any visitor. The combination of massive quantity and fine quality invests Barabudur with a unique character. It has hardly any parallel in the world, and it be truly remarked of its artists that 'they conceived like giants and finished like jewellers.
The life of the Buddha and other Buddhist stories depicted on the sculptures of Barabudur are not the imagination of the artists but based on the imagination of Sarvastivada and Vajrayana schools of Buddhism and are directly related to the ancient texts like Avadanas, Jätakas, Jatakamala, Gandavyuhastura, etc.
A complete explanation of all that is depicted in this most splendid creation of Hindu-Javan culture was, therefore, not very easy, though efforts had been being made since the beginning of the present century. It was possible thanks to the interest and enthusiasm of the then Government of the Netherlands. A complete series of photographs of the monument were made between 1907 and 1911. Then Koninklijk Institut voor de Taat-, Landen Volkenkunde van Neder- landsch-Indie was commissioned to publish the archaeological and architectural descriptions of Barabudur. The result of this project was the publication of a monograph in Dutch, in two volumes. the archaeological part by Nicholas Johannes Krom and the architectural part by T. Van Erp, with photographs in three big folios. The work well represents the quantity and quality of the subject it deals with.
The author of the archeological part has recorded all that is known about the significance of Barabudur and what could be gained from the original sources mentioned above.
An English edition of the archaeological part, in very limited copies, was issued, in 1927, in two volumes with 442 plates of photographs which is long out of print.
The present publication is a photo- graphic reproduction of the 1927 English edition in its entirety of the text and the illustrations.
During the great restoration of Barabudur (1907-1911), a complete series of photographs of the monument was made; they were intended as illustrations for a new monograph to succeed the one by Leemans in 1873. The question of how this monograph should be compiled was discussed already in 1909. It was evident that a complete explanation of all that is depicted on Barabudur would be impossible; therefore it was at first proposed that only an architectural description should be published, while at the same time the reproductions of the reliefs should be placed in the hands of competent scholars who were to collect data from all available sources for a future archaeological description.
The Government however, supported by expert advice from the Institutes, considered it advisable for the benefit of further research, that the archaeological description should appear at once, even though for the present it would be incomplete. Therefore in 1911 the Koninklijk Instituut voor de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indie" was commissioned to pu- blish both parts of the monograph. The architectural part was assigned to Mr. T. van Erp who as director of the restoration work was eminently qualified for the task. This part is still in preparation.
For the archaeological part Dr. J.Ph. Vogel had already been approached in 1912, he was at that time Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey in British India. In 1914 he undertook the work, but after becoming Professor at Leyden he was obliged in 1915 to resign the task, which was then entrusted to the present writer.
Dr. Vogel's intention was to make the description as complete as possible by a preliminary-naturally very lengthy-research into Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese literature, but I have considered it more suitable to begin by record- ing all that is known so far about the significance of Barabudur and what can be gained from the sources available at the present day.
Art & Culture (738)
Emperor & Queen (491)
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend