Semar is probably one of the oldest characters in Indonesian mythology who was not derived from Hindu mythology. He was made famous by performances of Wayang (Shadow Puppets) in the … Continue reading The Fallen God and the Power of Humility
In Asian mythology, just before the Lunar New Year, the kitchen gods would go to Heaven to report to the Heavenly Emperor on his family’s activities during the year. In … Continue reading The Kitchen in Asian Mythology
The proverb of cleanliness being “next to godliness” is popularly credited to John Wesley’s 1778 sermon. But it also came from writings in the Talmud. Washing oneself in clear water before paying homage to the gods and deities became part of the ceremonies in many ancient religions.
The vision of heavily armed men has become so heavily associated with the art of war that at this point it has become a cliché. So much so that, despite … Continue reading Ancient Ladies of War
The I Ching notes that the symbols for chaos and opportunity are the same. If the world, society and cherished collective beliefs are being threatened with chaos, I Ching interpret this as the world making its own descent into the underworld prior to its being reborn.
At first glance, the three books of Ars Amatoria are a collection of short poems playing with the common tropes of love stories – the locked-out lover, the slave go-between, the symptoms of love-sickness, the rich rival, the poor poet, infidelity and occasionally successful erotic encounter. But, they also include advice to the reader on how to be a good lover.
The steady march of time ultimately claims everyone, no matter how famous they are. Most people who have risen to dizzying heights of fame seems to be largely forgotten. So how is it that some people are almost instantly forgotten when they have gone, while others cling on, embedding themselves so deeply into our culture that we’re still studying them, writing about them and even depicting them in films millennia after they’re gone?
The Medang kingdom or the Mataram kingdom was a Javanese Hindu-Buddhist kingdom which flourished between the 8th and 11th centuries. It was based in Central Java, and then in East … Continue reading The Golden Age of Java
To this day, poems by Muhammad Jalal ad-Din Rumi have sold millions of copies. This makes him one of the most famous poets in the world. His poems were often compared to Shakespeare’s for their resonance. Meanwhile, Rumi lived in the close of the Golden Age of Islam. His writings on tolerance give us further value in offering a glimpse of the beliefs and tradition in which Rumi experienced in his lifetime.
The Nobility of Indonesia is comprised by the more than 350 royal families that ruled the Indonesian Princely Estates, plus the customarily recognised nobility of each particular Kingdom. Their members form an ancient nobility of blood whose noble titles are many times socially, traditionally and routinely recognized. However, although socially tolerated and the chiefs of these Royal houses sometimes still have representational and ceremonial roles, they no longer have legal privileges,
Serat Rama is a composition of the old Javanese song Ramayana Kakawin, composed at around 870 AD. In the poem Rama, the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, explained the concept of leadership to Wibisana, the new king of Alengka. After watching his extended family die on the battlefield, Wibisana was unwittingly put in the unexpected and unwanted position of being the next king of Alengka. Seeing this Rama, who battled and killed Wibisana’s elder brother Rahwana, gave him a crash-course on leadership called Astabrata, a teaching about obligation of a great king.
Islam is thought to have been present in Southeast Asia from early in the Islamic era. From the time of the third caliph of Islam, Uthman (644-656), Muslim emissaries and merchants were arriving in China who must have passed through Indonesia sea routes from the Islamic world.