Central Java Candi Sukuh western slope of Mount Lawu

Written by on June 2, 2012 in Java Heritages with 0 Comments

Central Java  Candi Sukuh western slope of Mount Lawu

Candi-Sukuh-01

Candi-Sukuh-02

Sukuh (Indonesian: Candi Sukuh  is a 15th-century Javanese-Hindu temple (candi) that is located on the western slope of Mount Lawu (elev. 910 m (3000 ft)) on the border between Central and East Java provinces.

Sukuh temple has a distinctive thematic reliefs from other candi where life before birth and sexual education are its main theme. Its main monument is a simple pyramid structure with reliefs and statues in front of it, including three tortoises with flattened shells and a male figure grasping his penis. A giant 1.82 m (6 ft) high of lingga (phallus) with four balls, representing penile incisions, was one of the statues that has been relocated to the National Museum of Indonesia.

Sukuh is one of several temples built on the northwest slopes of Mount Lawu in the 15th century. By this time, Javanese religion and art had diverged from Indian precepts that had been so influential on temples styles during the 8th–10th centuries. This area was the last significant area of temple building in Java before the island’s courts were converted to Islam in the 16th century. The temples’ distinctiveness and the lack of records of Javanese ceremonies and beliefs of the era make it difficult for historians to interpret the significance of these antiquities.

The founder of Candi Sukuh thought that the slope of Mount Lawe is a sacred place for worshiping the ancestors, nature spirits and the observance of the fertility cults. The monument was built around 1437, as written as a chronogram date on the western gate, meaning that the area was under the rule of the Majapahit Kingdom during its end (1293–1500).Some archaeologists believe the founder had cast the fall of Majapahit, based on the reliefs that displaying the feud between two aristrocratic houses symbolizing two internal conflicts in the kingdom.

In 1815, Sir Thomas Raffles, the ruler of Java during 1811–1816, visited the temple and he found the temple in a bad condition] In his account, there were many statues that had been thrown down on the ground and most of the figures had been decapitated. Raffles also found the giant lingga statue broken into two pieces which was then glued together. This vandalism of traditional culture (especially where sexuality is not suppressed, as in the statues) is likely to be an effect of the Islamic invasion of Java during the 16th century, based upon the identical patterns found in all other Islamic and monotheistic invasions generally.

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