1902 Encyclopedia > Java (Part 3)

Java
(Part 3)




Religion.—The Javanese are nominally Mahometans, as in former times they were Buddhists and Brahmans; but in reality, not only such exceptional groups as the Kalangs of Surakarta and Jokjokarta and the Baduwis or nomad tribes of Bantam, but the great mass of the people must be considered as believers rather in the primitive animism of their ancestors, and in the essence of their creed but little removed from their ruder brethren the Dayaks of Borneo and the Battaks of Sumatra. Into the original web indeed they have from time to time introduced frag-ments from every religious system with which they have come into contact; and no attempt has been made to rationalize into even superficial harmony the rudest of the resulting incongruities. The number of the spirits (Hyang or Yang, and with honorific prefix Sanghyang) worshipped by the Javanese is limitless. Every village has its patron spirit, whose presence was the indispensable condition of its foundation; to his influence all the fortune, good or bad, of the village is ascribed. Under a great shadowy tree stands an altar on which the worshipper lays his offering of incense and flowers, uttering meanwhile in broken Arabic the alien formula—"There is no God but God, and Mahomet is his prophet." To every field likewise belongs its special patron spirit, to whom due reverence must be shown. Nor is protection the only office of the Hyang. Mentik causes a particular disease in the rice ; Sawan produces convulsions in children; gout and rheumatism are ascribed to the influence of Dengen; Ki or Kyai Belorong gives men wealth in exchange for their souls.. Ratu Loro Kidul is princess of the southern sea, and has her seat among the caves and fiords of the southern coast. Within the region of her sway the Javanese will not speak loud lest he disturb the repose of her subject spirits. Near Rongkob in Jokjokarta, one of the places where edible nests are collected, the princess has a temple which none may enter save the priest alone; and similar temples exist in similar localities. The whole life of the Javanese, indeed, is enveloped in a mesh of mystery; not the stars only and the heavens rain influence, but from every object a spiritual emanation, invisible for the most part, but potent and exhaustless, flows forth .to him for blessing or for curse. Even Mahometanism with its One God has done little more than increase the number of supersensual beings to whom he prays. To Joseph he presents offerings that he may obtain beautiful children, to Solomon for honour and rank, to Moses for bravery, to Jesus for learning. The ritual of his religion—and his whole round of life is part of his religion—is intricate almost beyond conception, and at the same time rigid and precise. Everything must be done by rule and rubric; the unwritten law handed down from father to son allows of no curtailment or modifica-tion. Each individual class of offering must be prepared in its own peculiar way; the rice, for example,—which is one of the chief sacrificial substances,—must now be white, now red, now hard, now soft.

As we ascend in the social scale we find the name of Mahometan more and more applicable; and consequently in spite of the paganism of the populace the influence of the Mahometan "priests" (this is their official title in Dutch) is widespread and real. Great prestige attaches to the name of Mecca pilgriin. In every considerable town there is a mosque. Compare INDIAN ARCHIPELAGO, vol. xii. p. 819.

For the Christianizing of the Javanese very little has been done. In East Java the chief mission stations are Modjo Warno (with a population of 2327 souls in 1879, inclusive of seven out-stations), Kediri (698), and Malang (700), maintained by the Netherlands Missionary Society, and Japara maintained by the Dutch Baptist Society. In West Java the Netherlands Mission Union has seven stations—Tjandjur, Buitenzorg, Indramayu, Sakabumi, Sumedang, Madjalengka, and Cheribon. At Depok, 18 miles from Batavia, the Batavian Missionary Society established in 1878 a seminary for native preachers. The native church of Depok was originated by Cornelis Chastelein, who left his estate to hig slaves, whom he libe-rated on condition of their embracing Christianity. Mr Bruckner of Samarang, appointed to Java in 1812 by the Netherlands So-ciety, translated the New Testament into Javanese, but the work was confiscated by the Government. Gericke, an agent of the Netherlands Bible Society, was more fortunate ; his versions of both the Old and the New Testament, as well as his grammar and dictionary (edited by Roorda, Amst., 1843, 1847), have seen more than one edition.1

Language and Literature.—Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurese are the three native languages of Java and Madura. To take the least important first,—Sundanese is only spoken in its purity in the Preanger Regencies and the neighbouring parts of Bantam, Buitenzorg, Krawang, and Cheribon, and it is gradually losing ground. To Javanese it stands in the relation that Scotch stood to English about a century ago.2 The main body of Madurese is distinctly different from both old and new Javanese ; but it has incor-



FOOTNOTES (page 607)

(1) See Brumund, Evangelisatie van Java, Amsterdam, 1854; H. C. Voorhoeve, De Evangelische Zending op Oost. Java, Hague, 1864; and J. C. Neurdenburg, C. Poenson, &c., in Mededeelingan van wege het Nederl. Zendelinggenootschap, Rotterdam, 1880.

(2) See Coolsma, Handleiding tot de beoefening der Soendaneesche taal; Grashuis, Soendaneesche tolk, and Soend. lesboek; Rigg, Dictionary of Sundanese, Batavia, 1862; Blussé and Kartawinata, Hol-landsch-Sondaasok woordenboek, Samarang, 1877; Oosting, Soendasch-Nederlandsch woordenboek, 1879.





porated a very large number of purely Javanese words.1 In spite of these two languages and the intrusive Malay, Javanese has a full right to its name as the dominant speech of the island. It is not one language, but two. The nobles speak to the commonalty in the language of the commonalty, the commonalty to the nobles in the language of the nobles; and according to clearly understood regula-tions of etiquetté every Javanese plays the part of noble-man or commoner to his interlocutor. The aristocratic form is known as Kråmå or court speech, the popular as Nyoko, or the "thou-"ing speech (Fr., tutoyant, Germ., duzend) ; and between the two forms there is a sort of compromise, the Madja or middle speech, employed by those who stand to each other on an equal and friendly footing, or by those who feel little constraint of etiquette. For every idea that can be expressed in the language Kråmå has one expression, Ngoko another, the two words being sometimes completely different, sometimes only differing in the termination, the beginning, or the middle. Thus every Javanese makes we of two languages, and, what is more difficult, of two Ia'nguages delicately differentiated from each other. Java-nese as now spoken is far from being the same as the language of the old inscriptions and manuscripts. The latter (which is usually called Kawi,2 though some scholars insist on the name Old Javanese) was probably based on the Javanese of Mådjåkerto, while the Kråmå of the present day finds its type in that of Surakarta. It is easy to explain the existence of the Kråmå and the Ngoko. The Hindu conquerors of Java, in gradually adopting the speech of their Malay subjects modified it to suit their own taste and sense of superiority ; and the subjects mean-while continued to speak as they were wont. In its vocabulary Javanese Kråmå has a large number of words of Sanskrit origin; and in modern times there has been a considerable adoption of foreign words from and through the Dutch. Kråmå usually takes one form, Ngoko another; thus the word particulier appears in the former as pedjahkelir, in the other as patikelir.3 Like all the alphabets of the Indian archipelago except the Malay, the Javanese is derived from the Devanagari. When Javanese is'written in Arabic characters it is called pégon.

Though a considerable body of Kawi literature is still extant, nothing like a history of it is possible. The date and authorship of most of the works are totally unknown. The first place may be assigned to the Brata Yudu (that is Sansk., Bharata Yudha, the conflict of the Bharatas), an epic poem dealing with the struggle between the Pandåwås and the Koråwas for the throne of Ngastina celebrated in parwas 5-10 of the Mahâbhârata. To the concep-tion, however, of the modern Javanese it is a purely native poem; its kings and heroes find their place in the native history and serve as ancestors to their noble families. (Cohen Stuart pub-lished the modern Javanese version with a Dutch translation and notes, Bråtå-Joedå, &c., Samarang, 1877. The Kawi text was lithographed at the Hague by S. Lankhout.) Of greater antiquity probably is the Ardjunå Wiwåhå (or marriage festival of Ardjuna), which Professor Kern thinks may be assigned to the first half of the 11th century of the Christian era. The very name indicates its Mahâbhârata origin. (Friederich published the Kawi text from a Bali MS., and more recently we have from him Wiwåhå Djarwa en Bråtå Joedo Kawi, lithographed facsimiles of two palm leaf MSS., Batavia, 1878. Djarwa is the name of the poetic diction of modern Javanese.) The oldest poem of which any trace is preserved is probably the mythological Kåndå (i.e., tradition) ; the contents are to some extent known from the modern Javanese version.

In the literature of modern Javanese there exists a great variety of so-called babads or chronicles. It is sufficient to mention the "history" of Baron Sakender, which appears to give an account—often hardly recognizable—of ihe settlement of Europeans in Java (Cohen Stuart has published text and translation; Professor Veth gives an analysis of the contents), and the Babad Tanah Djawi (Hague, 1874, 1877), giving the history of the island to 1647 of the Javanese era. Even more numerous are the puppet-plays which usually take their subjects from the Hindu legends or from those relating to the kingdoms of Madjapahit and Padjadjaram (see, e.g., H. C. Humme, Abiåså, een Javaansche toneelstuk, Hague, 1878).

Several Javanese specimens are also known of the beast fable, which plays so important a part in Sanskrit literature (W. Palmer van den Broek, Javaansche Vertellingen, bevattende de lotgevallen van cen kantjil, een reebok, &c., Hague, 1878). To the Hindu-Javanese literature there has naturally succeeded a Mahometan Javanese literature consisting largely of translations or imitations of Arabic originals ; it comprises religious romances, moral ex hortations, and mystical treatises in great variety.

The reader may consult Rodet, Études sur la littérature javanaise; Van der Berg’s account of the MSS. of the Batavian Society, Hague, 1877 ; and a series of papers by C. Poensen in Meded. van wege he Ned. Zendelinggenootschap, 1880.

Antiquities.—The ruins left by the early Hindu con querors of Java are among the most remarkable objects of interest throughout the island. Temples (or tjandis, to



FOOTNOTES (page 608)

(1) See A. C. Vreede, Handleiding tot de beoefening der Madoeresche taal, Leyden, 1874.

(2) In full form tembung or båså Kawi, i.e., the "language of poems."

(3) Humboldt’s study, Ueber die Kawi Sprache, is one of the celebrated works of modern philology ; but in the absence of the necessary material it was to some extent a tour do force. Professor Kern’s Kawi Studien form the most important of the more recent contribution to the investigation of the language. For modern Javanese the standard grammar is Groot and Gericke’s Javaasche Spraakkunst, edited by Roorda (Amst., 1843).



use the Javanese name) are common in both middle and eastern Java—in Banyumas, Bagelen, Kadu, Jokjokarta, Surakarta, and Samarang, and in Surabaya, Kediri, Pasu-ruan, and Probolingo. They are absent from the Sunda lands in the one direction and from Madura in the other.

Most famous of all the temple rains is that of Bårå-Budur. It lies a little to the west of the right bank of the Prågå, which falls into the Indian Ocean. A hill rising above the plain 154 feet afforded a ready site for the structure, and the lava blocks with which the ground was strewn supplied abundance of material. The accompanying view and ground plan will give ome idea of the general arrangement and effect.1 Asquare terrace, each side 497 feet long, encloses the hill at a height of 50 feet ; 5 feet above this there is a second terrace, each side 365 feet; 11 feet higher comes a third terrace of similar shape ; and then follow four other ramparts and four other terraces. The whole structure is crowned bya cupola 52 feet in diameter, surrounded by sixteen smaller bell-shaped cupolas. It is suggestive of the richness of the style to mention that on the outside of the wall of the second enceinte there are one hundred and four niches, each with its image of Buddha on a lotus throne hewn out of a single block 5 feet high; and between the niches are sitting figures, man and woman alternately. The inside of the same enceinte is even more richly adorned with at least five hundred and sixty-eight has reliefs, representing scenes in the Buddha legend. Of the chronological date of the temple there is no certain knowledge, but it contains evidence enough in itself to fix its position in the historical movement of the Hindu creeds.





"The mixture of Buddhism and Brahmanism is best seen," says R. Friederich (Tijdsch. Der Ind. T. L. en Volkenkende), "in the three upper and inner galleries of Bore Budur, In the first we see the history of Sakyamuni from the annuncia-tion of his descent from the heaven of Indra till his transformation into Buddha, with some scenes of his life. The thirteen first scenes in the second gallery like-wise represent Buddha as a teacher with his pupils ; af ter that it would seem as if a concordat had been formed between the different cults; we have first in three separate scenes Buddha, Vishnu (Batara Guru), and Siva, all together, and other groups follow, Buddhistic and Sivaite without distinction. It is only in the fourth gallery that we again find Buddha dominant . . . . . Already in the first gallery we also see Brahmanic divinities, Garonda for example, but not in separate scenes. In my opinion the cupola is the principal and the most ancient part of the temple of Boro Budor; it must have been intended to serve as a dahagopa (dagoba), i.e., a place for the enshrining of relics. I do not as yet know of any other dagoba in Java; but I should not be surprised at their discovery. The dagobas of Ceylon have an exterior resemblance to the Boro Badur cupola; but I prefer to classify it rather with the topes or stupas of Afghanistan."

The writer goes on to point out that the sculptures of the lower galleries are not so carefully finished ; and the lions and some other subjects on the outside of the temple have never been com-pleted. About 3 miles to the north-east of Bårå Budur, and probably belonging to the same period, stands another beautiful temple—Tjandi Mendut or Mundut—on the left bank of the Ella before it joins the Prågå. It was first discovered by Hartmann, the resident of Magelang, in 1834, under the sand and ashes with which the Merapi volcano had covered it. See C. W. Mieling’s Javasche Oudheden, 1852 and 1856 ; and Colonel Yule’s account of his visit in Journ. Roy. As. Soc. Bengal, 1862.

On the Dieng plateau in Bagelen, mentioned as a holy mountain in the oldest known Javanese inscription, there exists a remarkable group of temples—which has been styled the Benares of Central Java. They stand 6500 feet above the sea ; and roads and stairways (locally known as Buddha’s roads) lead up from the lowlands of Bagelen and Pekalongan. The stairway between Lake Mendjer and Lake Tjebong alone consisted of upwards of 4700 steps. A great subterranean channel served to drain the plateau. The Tjandis are very numerous, the largest and most beautiful being Tjandi Bimå, but the best preserved the Ardjun_ group. The buildings are unfortunately covered to about a third of their height. In the same residency as Dieng are situated the temple caves of Kutå Ardjå discovered by Kinder in 1853. They are distributed in four groups, and apparently from the linga symbol belong to the worship of Siva. Near Rågå Djampi (Banyuwaugi) are the ruins of the town of Matjan Putih—of astonishing extent, but for the most part only shapeless mounds. The town walls were 12 feet high and 6 feet broad. A temple built of white limestone is the chief ruin. It seems to belong to the late Siva period of Javanese Hindu art. The much more famous city of Mådjåpahit has left its ruins not far from Mådjåkerto, in Surabaya.

Of the minor antiquities of Java the most valuable are the in-scriptions on stone and copper, though, owing to the variety of the characters which have been employed the task of deciphering and interprating is peculiarly difficult. The proposal of the Batavian Society in 1843 to issue a Corpus of Javanese inscriptions came to nought; of private investigators the most successful are Friederich and Kern. The inscriptions of Batu Beragung (1347) and Payer-rayung (1356), that on an image of' Buddha now in the Berlin Museum, that on a rock in the Dieng mountains discovered by Junghuhn, and that preserved at Minto House, in Scotland, are considered of special importance. At Sukuh and Tjeta, on the slope of Lawu, there is a peculiar series in a special character deciphered by Van der Vlis. The famous Menang Kebau inscrip-tions, being the work of Javanese settlers, belong rather to Java than Sumatra; but Professor Kern has shown that, instead of being, as at one tinie supposed, the oldest epigraphic monument in the Archipelago, they really belong to the most modern Hindu period (cf. Cohen Stuart in Bijd. tot de T. L. en V. Kunde, viii. 1, 1873). Of the Javanese copper plates the most important collection is Cohen Stuart’s Kawi Oorkonden in Facsimile, 1875.

The Name Java.—The origin of this name is very doubtful. It is not improbable that it was first applied either to Sumatra or to what was known of the Indian archipelago—the insular character of the several parts not being at once recognized. Jawa Dwipa, or "land of millet," may have been the original form2 and have given rise both to the Jaba diu of Ptolemy and to the Je-pho-thi of Fattien, the Chinese pilgrim of the 4th or 5th century. The oldest form of the name in Arabic is apparently Zábej. The first epigraphic occurrence of Jawa, is in an inscription of 1343. In Marco Pola the name is the common appellation of all the Sunda islands. The Jaws, of Ibn Batuta is Sumatra; Java is his Mul Jáwa (i.e., pos-sibly "original Java"). Jåwå is the modern Javanese name (in the court speech Jawi), sometimes with Nusa, "island," or Tanah, "country," prefixed.

History.—The history of Java in its main outlines can be very briefly given; in detail it is burdened with endless complications, inconsistent accounts, and imaginative adornments. It is impos-sible to extract a rational narrative from the earlier babads or native chronicles, and even the later are destitute of any satisfactory chronology. The first great moment in the history is the ascendency of the Hindus, and that breaks up into three periods,—-a period of Buddhism, a period of aggressive Sivaism, and a period of apparent compromise. Of the various Hindu states that were established in the island, that of Madjapahit was the most widely dominant; its tributaries were many, and it even extended its sway into other parts of the archipelago.3 The second moment of the history is the invasion of Islam in the beginning of the 15th century ; and the third is the establishment of European and more particularly of Dutch influence and authority in the island. In its general features this last and most important section reads very much like the narrative of the British subjugation of India. At the time when the Dutch East Indian Company began to fix its trading factories on the coast towns, the chief native state was Mataram, which had in the 16th century succeeded to the overlordship possessed by the house of Demak—one of the states that rose after the fall of Madjapahit. The "emperors of Java," as the princes of Mataram are called in the early accounts, had their capital at Kartasura, now an almost deserted place, 6 miles west of Surakarta. At first and for long the company had only forts and little fragments of territory at Jakatra (Batavia), &c. ; but in 1705 it obtained de-finite possession of the Preanger by treaty with Mataram ; and in 1745 its authority was extended over the whole north-east coast, from Cheribon to Banyuwangi. In 1755 the kingdom of Mataram



FOOTNOTES (page 609)

(1) See Leeman’s Bôrô Boedoer, based on the MSS. of Wilsen and Brumund, and accompanied by 394 plates on elephant folio, Leyden, 1873.

(2) Dwipa is also part of the names Maldive and Laccadive.

(3) The work entitled Madjapahit, by Gramberg, is an historical romance based on the somewhat extravagant accounts of this kingdom.



was divided into the two states of Surakarta and Jokjokarta, which still retain nominal independence. The kingdom of Bantam was finally subjugated in 1808. By the English occupation of the island (1811-18) the European ascendency was rather strengthened than weakened ; and the great Java war (1825-30), in which Dipa Negårå made a last great struggle to maintain the position of the native dynasty, resulted in the complete success of the Dutch.

The fullest account of Java is contained in Professor Veth’s Java: Geographisch, Ethaologisch, Historisch, 3 vols Haarlem, 1875-80. The first volume consists of a general description of the geography, flora, fauna, inhabitants, language, &c.; the second gives a history of the native states (leaving the growth of the Dutch power, already treated in detail by De Jonge, as much as possible out of view); and the third presents a topographical description of each of the residencies, The very existence of such a work implies the previous existence of a vast literature on its subject. Besides Junghuhn, Raffles, and others referred to above, and under the heading INDIAN ARCHIPELAGO, we way mention Ryckloff van Goens, Javaense Rayse . . . in den Jare 1656, Dort, 1666 ; Hogendorp, Coup d’aeil sur l’île de Java , Brussels, 1830 ; Pfyffer von Neueck, Skizzen von der Insel Java, &c., 1829; Kussendragen, Natuur. en aardrijksk, beschrijving van Java, Groningen, 1841; W. R. van Hoevell, Reis over Java, Amsterdam, 1849, &e., and Uit het Ind. leven, Zaltbommel, 1860; D’Almeida, Life in Java; Pijnappel, Geographie van Ned. Ind,; Hollander, Handleidivg voor de land en volkenkunde van Nederlansch Indle. Gramberg’s historical romances, and E. D. Dekker (Multatuli), Max Havelaar of de Koffieveilingen der Nederlandsche Handelsmaat-schappij, Amsterdam, 1860, are of value for their pictures of Javanese life. Professor Veth’s work contains physical, historical, and topographical maps. Others on a larger scale will be found in the Atlas van Nederland en zijne Overzeesche Bezittingen, published by A. W. Sijthoff, 1879. (H. A.W.)



Search the Encyclopedia:



About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Sitemaps
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us



© 2005-14 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries