Sunday, August 24, 2008

Unknown Masterpieces

The temple in a large Indonesian town was first built in the late 18th although none of the original buildings remain and the whole is rather nondescript today. However, in a back room just behind the main shrine are some of the best examples of Javanese sculpture still to be seen outside a museum. Four Hindu sculptures and seven Buddhist ones sit on the floor, painted with cheap gold paint, covered in dust and partly obscured by junk. The image of Prajnaparamita and another of Manjusri are particularly impressive. No one today knows where the sculptures came from or when they were first acquired by the temple. But the temple guardians have a real and completely justifiable fear that the sculptures might be stolen or that the archaeological authorities might confiscate them and therefore I do not give the name or the location of the temple.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Here's a disturbing article on the smuggling of Buddhist relics in India I came across while I was googling.
Might interest you.