The influence of Indian culture in Indonesia, from art to architecture

CNN Indonesia

Saturday September 16, 2023 08:00 WIB

Drawing. The influence of Indian culture in Indonesia, from art to architecture (Getty Images/Ulet Ifansasti)

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia

The variety of crops found in Indonesia is also influenced by the influx of foreign crops, one of which is India.

Influence culture India in Indonesia or the archipelago at that time, began with trade relations that existed between the 4th and 15th centuries.

The region’s strategic location and the fact that it is also a spice producing area means that Indonesia is often visited by other countries for trade purposes.

Through this commercial relationship, cultural acculturation or cultural crossbreeding, including in India, was formed.

The influence of Indian culture in Indonesia

alt=”” title=”Plaosan Temple” />Illustration. The influence of Indian culture in Indonesia, from art to architecture (iStockphoto/zodebala)

Collected from Indonesian History Module: Intersection of Local Culture and Hindu Buddhism, Ministry of Education and Culture, High Schoolayaan (2017)here are a number of influences of the influx of Indian culture on cultural development in Indonesia.

1. Fine arts and sculpture

The first acculturation of Indian culture with Indonesian culture occurred in the field of fine arts, sculpture and sculpture.

This can be seen on the sculptures or carved reliefs on the temple walls. The Borobudur Temple reliefs are sculptures of the Buddha story.

2. The art of building

Temple buildings in Indonesia in general are a form of acculturation between elements of Hindu-Buddhist culture and Indonesian culture.

The statues in the temple building are incarnations of Buddha or gods. Some parts of the stupa and the temple are elements from India.

The shape of temples in Indonesia, namely punden terraces, is an original Indonesian element.

3. Literature and literary arts

The entry of Indian culture into Indonesia also had a significant influence on the culture of literary arts in Indonesia. Literary art then took the form of poetry and prose.

Judging by its content, literature is grouped into three categories, namely legal books, discourses (religious writings) and epics (heroics).

There are very popular epic forms in Indonesia, such as Bharatayuda which was composed by Mpu Sedah and Mpu Panuluh.

4. Performing arts

The increasingly developed literary works, especially those from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, gave rise to the art of wayang kulit performance.

The history of shadow puppet show comes from India but wayang comes from Indonesia.

Apart from that, JLA Brandes believes that the gamelan is one of the original performing arts instruments that belonged to Indonesia before the arrival of Indian culture.

Then, over the centuries, the gamelan developed with the inclusion of new cultural elements, both in terms of form and quality.

5. Belief system

Since pre-literate times, Indonesians have known symbols that have philosophical meaning. For example, if someone dies, their grave is accompanied by several objects.

Among these items are usually paintings of people riding a boat, which means that the spirits of the deceased will continue their journey to the afterlife.

At that time, people already believed that there was life after death, especially as spirits. Thus, the spirits of their ancestors are venerated by the living.

After the arrival of Indian influence, the belief in ancestral spirits did not disappear. An example can be seen in the function of temples or temples in India, particularly as places of worship.

The temple is also a place of tombs of kings or storage of ashes of deceased kings. This is a combination of the function of temples in India and the funerary traditions or worship of ancestral spirits that already exist in Indonesia.

6. Architecture

Religious buildings such as temples were very famous during the era of Hindu Buddhism. This can be seen on Hindu heritage buildings namely Gedungsongo Temple and Sewu Temple.

The monastery hermitage building is also a building with steps. It can be seen in several temples such as Tikus Temple, Jalayunda Temple and Plaosan Temple.

The sacred building with terraces developed in the preliterate era, representing a multi-level universe. During this time, the highest place is where the ancestral spirits (ancestors) reside.

These are some of the influences of Indian culture in Indonesia. Good study !


Cheryl Tenny

"Thinker. Food advocate. Incurable coffee enthusiast. Communicator. Proud student. Zombie buff. Tv fanatic. Extreme troublemaker."

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