Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Java Jamboree: Stories on the Walls

Walking up the stairs and corridors to the uppermost floor of Borobudur was a fascinating experience. You'd get to pass approximately 2,670 individual bas reliefs on walls and balastrades, 1,460 of them narrative, telling the life of Buddha and the famed Buddhist Jataka Tales and 1,212 of them decorative. Since this is a Buddhist monument, you'd expect to find Buddha statues here, and there are 504 here. Over 300 of them however, are damaged and 43 missing. The damaged statues mostly have their heads missing as these have been stolen as collector's items and placed in Western museums. A main dome at the center of the top platform is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa. I remember seeing a black and white Indonesian film very long ago showing an elderly Indonesia trying to touch the Buddha statue inside. It is said that if one is able to touch it, one would get one's wish furfilled. On 21 January 1985, nine stupas were badly damaged by nine bombs and in 1991, a blind Muslim evangelist, Husein Ali Al Habsyie, was sentenced to life imprisonment for masterminding a series of bombings in the mid 1980s including the temple attack. Maybe, we should make a wish that this world heritage should be safe from future mindless attacks...

Stories on the walls...







Traveling Tip: Listen to the walls!

4 comments:

Liudmila said...

I looked at the photos and thought: how can the artists create these pictures from the stones? It's not possible to correct or change somethng...

footiam said...

I suppose they are just skillful, careful and patient.It's not the job for modern people.

Liudmila said...

You are right, modern life is under the signs: Now And Immediately

footiam said...

That's why we have fast food!

Have another serving of Travel Pangs!