View Single Post
Old 12th September 2020, 10:35 PM   #24
A. G. Maisey
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,774

I.P., flowers in Javanese & Balinese art motifs are commonly read as a part of the overall motif, and as is common with other things in Jawa & Bali the names of the motifs can change depending on a number of factors. The meaning of a motif can be understood in varying ways also.

In Jawa & Bali, perhaps the most common single flower motif is the lotus, but other flowers in other places and for other reasons can also be found. This Wiki link will give some idea of the problems faced in trying to identify & interpret a single flower within a motif, or within a decorative field.

One of, if not the best references for Indonesian art motifs is Van Der Hoop's "Indonesian Design", published in 1949 in three languages, parallel text;- Dutch, Bahasa Indonesia, English. The content is an overview, it is quite general and its value is that it opens the door on a motif, permitting further research along specific lines.

With Javanese art motifs one of the best places to start looking for identification is one of the many books that deal with batik motifs --- if you throw "batik motifs" into GOOGLE, you will get several million links.

The single most important art motif in Indonesian art and especially in Javanese art is the Gunungan, representations of this permeate Indonesian culture. This motif is often hidden, and can sometimes be represented as something else, or named as something else, for instance, the well known Tumpal motif is a Gunungan representation. Sumastuti Sumukti wrote a very good paper on the Gunungan as a Phd dissertation, Uni of Hawaii.

In fact, the keris itself is understood as a representation of the Gunungan.


I was so busy waffling on about generalities that I forgot to answer the specific question relating to Anthony's flower motifs.

The rear motifs showing flowers are known as "patra/patera cina" patra means either a leaf or a carved decoration, "cina" is China/Chinese", so "Chinese style carved decoration'. This "Chinese style" has a sort drooping arrangement. There is another common Balinese floral motif with a round flower, this is called "Patra/patera Olanda", "Olanda" is "Dutch" (Hollander)

this info is from Urs Ramseyer, and it seems to me to given in Balinese Indonesian, it does not seem to be pure Balinese.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey; 13th September 2020 at 05:33 AM.
A. G. Maisey is offline   Reply With Quote