Изображения страниц
PDF

of Madura and Bali. In length it may be estimated at six hundred miles, by ninety-five in average breadth.

“ If we admit the natural inference, that the population of the islands originally emigrated from the continent, the history of the eastern islands may, with reference to that of Java in particular, in which a powerful Hindu government was without doubt early established, be divided into five distinct periods.

“ The first division would include the period commencing with the earliest accounts of the population, down to the first establishment of a foreign colony in Java.

“ The Javans date the commencement of their era‘ from the arrival of Adi Saka, the minister of Prabu joyo Boyo, sovereign of Hastina, and the fifth in descent from Arjuno, the favourite of Krishna, and the leading hero of the B’rata Yud’ha. This epoch corresponds with that of the introduction of a new faith into China, and the further peninsula, by Saka, Shaka, or Sakia, as he is differently termed.

“ But whether Saka himself, or only some of his followers assuming this name, found their way to Java, may be questionable.

“ Anterior to this supposed arrival of Adi Saka, the two most eventful periods in the history of these countries of which tradition and history make mention, are——first, that which includes the excursions of the far-famed race, which have been supposed to have peopled South America ;T and according to Sir William Jones, ‘ imported into the furthest parts of Asia the rites and fabulous history of Rama ;’ and secondly, that which includes the consequences of the invasion of India by Alexander the Great. That the fabulous history of Rama, as well as the exploits of Alexander, have been current in the Malayan Archipelago from time immemorial, cannot be questioned; and it may be remarked, that while the J avans use the term Rama, for father, the Malays universally attempt to trace their descent from Alexander or his followers.

“ The second division would include the period between this first regular

‘‘ Their present year is 1758.
j Humboldt describes the existence of Hindu remains still found in America.

establishment from Western India, and the decline and fall of the first eastern empire in Java, which may be fixed with tolerable accuracy at about the Javanese year 1000, or AD. 1073.

“ During this period, by far the most eventful in the history of Java, we shall find that colonies of foreigners established themselves, not only in Java, but in various other islands of the Archipelago; that the arts, particularly those of architecture and sculpture, flourished in a superior degree; and that the language, literature, and institutions of the continent of India, were transfused in various directions through the oriental islands. It was during this period that the principal temples, of which the ruins now exist in Java, were built.

“ This period will commence from the arrival of Awap, the reputed son of Baliattcha, sovereign of Kudjorat, who came in search of a celebrated country described in the writings of Saka; and who, under the name of Sewelo Cholo, established the first regular monarchy of which the Javanese annals make mention; and include the adventures of the celebrated Panji, the pride and admiration of succeeding ages.

“ The third division would include the period from the above date to the final overthrow of the second eastern empire, in the Javanese year 1400. Some idea may be formed of the power and opulence of this second empire, established‘at Majapahit, from the extensive ruins of that city still extant. The walls enclose a space of upwards of twenty miles in circumference.

“ Within this period will be included the establishment of the western empire at Pajajaran, the subsequent division of the island under the princes of Majapahit, and Pajajaran, the eventual supremacy of Majapahit, and the final overthrow of the government and ancient institutions of the country, by the general establishment of the Mahometan faith.

“ It is during this period that Java may be said to have risen to the highest pitch of her civilization yet known, and to have commanded a more extensive intercourse, throughout the Archipelago, than at any former period. Colonies from Java were successively planted in Sumatra, the Malayan peninsula, Borneo and Bali, the princes of which contrive still to trace their descent from the house of Majapahit.

“ 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 grandeunof 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 N andi, 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 inlandbetween Samarang , I and Pacalongan, is the supposed residence of Aijuno, and of the demi-gods

if 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 J avanese, 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 Arj uno, 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 re

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »