Posted on: 27 February 2014

Shiva in meditation

Dieng Plateau

1864 ca

Source: Rijksmuseum

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Both Java and Bali have some incredibly beautiful sculptures of Vishnu and Shiva.

Dieng temple complex is amongst the oldest hindu stone temples outside India. Its 7th century. This cant be from 1864 - Rijksmuseum must refer to the date of its dutch discovery. Was at Dieng couple of weeks back. Mahabharata valley. All stone temples in the valley, the caves around its lakes & volcanoes as well as the villages around it, are named on Mahabharata. Arjuna temple is the one in the center here (attached photo) & like elsewhere in Java (including at Prabanam or Param Brahma temple complex, at Yogyakarta), Shiva temple is always this center (arjuna) & biggest shrine of the trinity temples. This is unlike India where the trinity is always equal in size with the Brahma , Vishnu & Mahesh logic putting the preserver, Vishnu in the center. The museum at Dieng ( Kailasa Museum) has a good collection of statues found at the site including a 3 headed Shiva.

For those keeping up Shivaratri.

Shiva Trisiraha , Kailas museum, Dieng, Java, Indonesia.More on Dieng temples in Ananda Coomarswamy's excellent book - "Indian and Indonesian Art". Also worth noting is Indonesia's country motto - Bhinneka Tunggal Ika ( Unity in Diversity) - which comes from a 14th century Kakawin/Sanskrit poetry about a Shiva avatar ( some say its Boddhisattva but not part of the 536 Jataka stories) called, SUTASOMA, son of a king of Hastinapur.

Is it really Shiva? He is holding a chakra and a fly whisk. I wonder if the deity has been misidentified.

Could be, Michael. It was titled shiva trisiraha by the museum. Do note though that this nor the Rijksmuseum statue were the main deity inside the arjuna temple at Dieng. Thats been identified as the traditional linga-yoni & its housed in the museum too.

I love this place!

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