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MAJAPAHIT TERRACOTTA

Author: Soedarmadji J.H. Damais
Editors: Helly Minarti & Sherry Kasman Entus


Hardcover
Size: 195 x 140 mm
Pages: 148 pp
ISBN: 978-979-8926-29-7
Price: US$ 13
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Synopsis

The Majapahit empire (13th to 16th century) was based in the contemporary regency of Mojokerta, East Java, Indonesia. Majapahit reached its peak during the reign of Rajasanagara, popularly known as Hayam Wuruk (1350– 1389). It was under his rule that the court assigned the poet Prapanca to compose the Nagarakertagama, also titled Desawarnana. Among other things, the poem depicts the capital of Majapahit as a complex of buildings made entirely of brick and wood, with terracotta and limestone details.

Some of the brick structures of the ancient city, including gateways, temples and pools, can still be seen today around the village of Trowulan in Mojokerto, reflecting the architecture that once defined the place. Besides stone statues and inscriptions, this mighty kingdom also left testimonies of everyday life in the form of terracotta artefacts which bear resemblance to contemporary Balinese styles in particular.

Not much is known about these artefacts, and what is known is complicated by the many fakes and replicas found in the antique markets. Some of them are in the shapes of humans, animals and mythological creatures.Their functions were diverse, ranging from architectural elements to garden furniture and household utensils. Written from a collector’s point of view, this book aims to be an intimate guide about Majapahit terracotta. It provides readers with personal insight into the exciting variety of this little known art form drawing upon selected items in the collection which the author has carefully assembled over the past thirty years. It begs a question of Majapahit urban past and connects it with the contemporary design sensibility, of Balinese style in particular.