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Relief depicting the deity Manjusri.
The Javanese temple of Borobudur was constructed between about 790 and 850 CE. It was designed to fulfill several symbolic requirements: a mountain, a mandala, and a manual of Buddhist practice in the form of narrative reliefs. By the early 20 th century scholars had succeeded in connecting most of them with specific Buddhist texts. The concordance between the reliefs and the texts which inspired them varies; some sections are illustrated at length, while others are abbreviated. In many sections, the Javanese designers added many elements to the illustrations which are not mentioned in the known texts. In this presentation I will analyze the interaction between the texts and people who designed the illustrations of them, and will propose some guesses about the non-textual sources upon which the Javanese artists drew.
EMERITUS PROFESSOR JOHN MIKSIC
John N. Miksic is emeritus professor in the Southeast Asian Studies Department of the National University of Singapore, and Senior Visiting Fellow, School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. He was awarded the title Kanjeng Raden Arya Temengong by the Susuhunan of Surakarta for his work on a book about the palace and the history of that kingdom. His book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea won the inaugural award for best book on Singapore history. His research interests include the historical archaeology of Southeast Asia, urbanization, trade, ancient Buddhism, and ceramics.
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