« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
“ In the endeavours to establish the Mahometan faith in the various countries where it is now acknowledged, and particularly in Java, we find, that notwithstanding attempts to make proselytes were as early as the commencement of the twelfth century, such was the attachment of the people to their ancient faith and institutions, that these efforts did not effectually succeed till the latter end of the fifteenth century of the Christian era. “ In Java, and in the whole of that range of islands which modern geographers have classed under the denomination of the Sunda Islands, extensive traces of antiquity and national greatness are exhibited in the numerous monuments of a former worship, in the ruins of dilapitaded cities, and in the character, the institutions, the language, and the literature of the people. “The most splendid of the monuments of ancient worship are to be found at Prambanon, Boro Bodo, and Singa Sari. These extensive ruins lay claim to the highest antiquity; and, considering the vicinity of the temples to have been the seat of the earliest monarchy in Java, I may be permitted, in the words of Captain Baker, to lament the contrast of the present times with times long since past. “Nothing,” he observes, ‘can exceed the air of melancholy, desolation, and ruin, which this spot presents; and the feelings of every visitor must be forcibly in unison with the scene of surrounding devastation, when he reflects upon the origin of this once venerated, hallowed spot; the seat and proof of the perfection of arts now no longer in existence in Java; the type and emblem of a religion now no longer acknowledged, and scarcely known among them by name: when he reflects upon that boundless profusion of active, unwearied skill and patience, the noble spirit of generous emulation, the patronage and encouragement which the arts and sciences must have received, and the inexhaustible wealth and resources which the Javanese of those times must have possessed '' “ In attempting to describe the Chandi Sewo, or thousand temples, which form a principal part of these ruins, he laments his inability to convey any adequate ideas satisfactory to his own mind, even of the actual dismantled state of this splendid seat of magnificence and of the arts.
“. Next to Prambanan, the ruins of Boro Bodo may be ranked as remarkable for grandeur in design, peculiarity of style, and exquisite workmanship. “It is built so as to crown the upper part of a small hill, the summit terminating in a dome. The building is square, and is composed of seven terraces, rising one above the other, each of which is enclosed by stone walls; the ascent to the different terraces being by four flights of steps, leading from four principal entrances, one on each side of the square. On the top are several small latticed domes, the upper part terminating in one of a larger circumference. In separate niches, or rather temples, at equal distances, formed in the walls of the several terraces, are contained upwards of three hundred stone images of devotees, in a sitting posture, and being each above three feet high. Similar images are within the domes above; and in compartments in the walls, both within and without, are carved in relief, and in the most correct and beautiful style, groupes of figures, containing historical scenes and mythological ceremonies, supposed to be representations of a principal part, either of the Ramayan or Mahabarat. The figures and costumes are evidently Indian; and we are at a loss whether most to admire the extent and grandeur of the whole construction, or the beauty, richness, and correctness of the sculpture. “ The same may be also traced in the ruins at Singa Sari, situated in the Residency of Pasaruan, where are still to be found images of Brahma, Mahadeo, Ganesa, the bull Nandi, and others of the most exquisite workmanship, and in a still higher degree of preservation than any remaining at Prambanan or Boro Bodo. “These buildings must have been raised at a period when the highest state of the arts existed, and constructed at no very distant date from each other. Considered in this view, they serve very forcibly and decidedly to corroborate the historical details of the country, which are found to exist in the different written compositions and dramatic entertainments. “Gunung Prahu, a mountain, or rather a range of mountains (for there are no less than twenty-nine points or summits, which have distinct names), situated on the northern side of the island, and inland between Samarang and Pacalongan, is the supposed residence of Arjuno, and of the demi-gods and heroes who distinguished themselves in the B'rata Jud'ha, or holy war. Here, the ruins of the supposed palace of the chief, the abode of Bima, his followers and attendants, are exhibited; and so rich was once this spot in relics of antiquity, that the village of Kali Babar, situated at the foot of the mountain, is stated to have paid its rents, from time immemorial, in gold melted down from the golden images here discovered. “As connected with these early and splendid monuments of the former high state of the arts in Java, and illustrative of the history of the country, are to be noticed the great variety of inscriptions found in different parts of the island. “Did not the other striking and obvious proofs exist of the claims of Java to be considered at one period far advanced in civilization, it might be sufficient to bring forward the perfection of the language, the accession which that language must in early times have received from a distant but highly cultivated source, and the copiousness for which it stands so peculiarly and justly distinguished. “In the island of Java two general languages may be considered as prevalent. The Sunda language, which prevails in the western, and the Javanese, which is the language of the districts east of Cheribon. “The literature of Java, however much it may have declined in latter days, must be still considered as respectable. The more ancient historical compositions are mostly written in the Kawi language, to which frequently the meaning of each word, and a paraphrase of the whole in Javanese, is annexed. Of these compositions those most highly esteemed are the B'rata Jud'ha, or holy war, and a volume entitled Romo or Rama; the former descriptive of the exploits of Arjuno, and the principal heroes whose fame is recorded in the celebrated Indian poem of the Mahabarat, the latter of those who are distinguished in the Ramayan. These poems are held, by the Javanese of the present day, in about the same estimation as the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer are by Europeans. I should not omit to mention that the belief is general among the Javanese, that the scene of this celebrated romance is in Java. They point out the different countries which are referred to; such as Hastina, Wirata, and others in different districts of the island, which have since assumed more modern names; and the supposed mansion of Arjuno, as before noticed, is still traced upon Gunung Prahu. Dramatic representations of various kinds form the constant recreation of the higher classes of society, and the most polished amusements of the country. These consist of the way-ang-kulit, or scenic shadows, and the way-ang-wong, in which men personify the heroes of the B'rata Jud'ha and Romo. They have also the topeng, in which men wearing masks personify those immortalized in the history of Panji; and the way-ang-klitik, or koritchil, not unlike a puppet-shew in Europe, in which diminutive wooden figures personify the heroes of Majapahit. “These dramatic exhibitions are accompanied by performances on the gamelan, or musical instruments of the Javanese, of which there are several distinct sets. The Javanese music is peculiarly harmonious, but the gamut is imperfect. “The superior and extraordinary fertility of the soil may serve to account for the extensive population of Java, compared with that of the other islands; and when, to the peaceable and domestic habits of an agricultural life, are added the facilities for invasion along an extensive line of coast, accessible in every direction, it will not have been surprising that she should have fallen an easy prey to the first invader. She appears to have lost, by these invasions, much of that martial spirit and adventurous enterprise which distinguishes the population of the other isles; but, at the same time, to have retained, not only the primitive simplicity of her own peculiar usages, but all the virtues and advantages of the more enlightened institutions which have been introduced at different periods from a foreign source. At all events, when we consider that her population cannot be less than four millions, and when we witness the character and literature of the people as it is even now exhibited, we must believe that Java had once attained a far higher degree of civilization than any other nation in the southern hemisphere. Remains of the Hindu religion is still existent on the Tenggar Mountains on the island. “To the eastward of Surabaia, and on the range of hills connected with Gunung Dasar, and lying partly in the district of Pasuraun and partly in that of Probolingo, known by the name of the Teng'gar Mountains, we find the remnant of a people still following the Hindu worship, who merit attention, not only on account of their being the depositaries of the last trace of that worship discovered at this day on Java, but as exhibiting a peculiar singularity and simplicity of character. “These people occupy about forty villages, scattered along this range of hills in the neighbourhood of the Sandy Sea, and are partly under Pasuraun and partly under Probolingo. The site of the villages, as well as the construction of the houses, is peculiar, and differs entirely from what is elsewhere observed in Java. The houses are not shaded by trees, but built on spacious open terraces, rising one above the other, each house occupying a terrace, and being in length from thirty to seventy, and even eighty feet. “The head of the village takes the title of Petingi, and he is generally assisted by a kabayan; both elected by the people from their village. There are four priests, who are here termed dukuns, having charge of the sacred records. “These dukuns, who are in general intelligent men, have no tradition of the time when they were first established on these hills; from what country they came, or who intrusted them with the sacred books, to the faith contained in which they still adhere. These latter, they state, were handed down to them by their fathers, their office being hereditary; and the sole duty required of them being to perform the puja according thereto, and again to hand them down in safety to their children. They consist of three compositions written on the loutar-leaf, describing the origin of the world, the attributes of the deity, and the forms of worship to be observed on different occasions. “On the death of an inhabitant of Tenggar, the corpse is lowered into the grave, the head being placed to the south (contrary to the direction observed by the Mahometans), and bamboos and planks are placed over, so as to prevent the earth from touching it. When the grave is closed, two posts are planted over the body, one perpendicular from the breast, the other from the lower part of the belly. Between these two a hollowed bamboo is in