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Old 3rd September 2019, 01:07 PM   #2
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,542

Gustav, I have read your post many times, and I have been thinking about your words for the last couple of days.

I think that perhaps you are thinking along the lines of hopefully being able to attribute this hilt style to some specific group of people who were present in 16th century Jawa at the time of the early European contacts. My feeling about this is that other than attribution to the broad North Coast Muslim community, it might be just a little bit difficult be any more specific.

However, there is one thing that has really caught my attention, and I am hoping that you will be able to assist, you have written:-

"This tendency we see already in some Majapahit period stone carvings, well before Mantingan carvings."

By the Mantingan carvings, I assume you mean the ornamentation of the Mantingan Mesjid in Japara that dates from about 1560? So yes, carvings produced during the Majapahit era did most certainly precede the Jepara style.

My problem is this:- I cannot recall ever seeing Majapahit era carvings where human figures are represented with some parts of their bodies rendered in the lung-lungan style. I admit, I have never consciously gone looking for this particular style of carving, but I have seen and photographed a lot of Majapahit era carving, so I think I might have noticed it in passing. The lung-lungan style is quite prolific in Majapahit bas reliefs, but I cannot recall ever having seen it applied to a human, or human-like, figure.

I am not saying lung-lungan ornamentation of human figures did not occur in Majapahit era carvings, it may well have, Islam was well established in Majapahit Jawa, and some Muslim individuals could well have commissioned carvings where human and human-like figures had parts of their bodies represented as foliage. But I do not know of this.

In respect of the triangular motif, surely we are looking at the tumpal motif here, and the meaning is dependent upon the situational interpretation --- Javanese iconography rarely has only a single way of being understood, so interpretation depends upon situational factors, and in the historical sense that can make a single valid interpretation of the motif somewhere between difficult and impossible.

You have commented:-

" It seems to carry a message."

I am uncertain what you mean by this, could you expand a little on this comment?

Thank you.
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