750 - 1550

Polak, Jaap.

496 pp.; ca. 250 illustrations, maps, glossary, index, bibliography. Leiden, 2022. Cloth.

book nr. 14823                 € 125,00

Ancient Indonesian Gold is the first publication of the Documentation Centre for Ancient Indonesian Art in Amsterdam. It examines Indonesian gold, sculptures, objects and jewellery, affording fresh insights into the history, techniques and use of the special types of jewellery made by Javanese goldsmiths. The objects have been studied closely and their descriptions sometimes differ from that in earlier publications. This was done in an attempt to give the reader new information about ancient Javanese gold. Most of the 115 selected items are published here for the first time and provide a good introduction to the fascinating goldsmith art of Central- and East Java from circa 750 to 1550. Several objects exhibit the foreign influences that helped shape Javanese art, as illustrated by early photographs. This begins with the impact of Hinduism from India, somewhat later that of Buddhism, and subsequently of Islamic culture. The illustrations in this publication include high-quality photographs of the works of art as well as old photographs and details of archaeological sites throughout Java. In this way, art lovers are able to better understand Indonesian culture as well as the virtuosity of Javanese goldsmiths. Indonesia's rise to greatness was due to its ability to time and again absorb new elements from foreign cultures and incorporate them into its own intrinsic civilisation.