Arts and Culture
Candi Sewu, an 8th-century Buddhist temple in Central Java, exhibits on its exterior walls sixteen rectangular base-relief panels with patterns that have long been thought to be representations of foreign textiles. In 1977, Hiram Woodward identified the pattern with the so-called pearl roundel textiles that were very popular commodities in Silk Road trade during the 7th to 9th centuries. This paper revisits and expands on Woodward’s early study. It traces the prototypes of the pattern through the archaeological materials from China and Central Asia and illustrates the process of adaptation of the foreign motifs into the context of the Javanese Buddhist temple. This paper then follows the evolution of the pattern in later Javanese stone and metal figures. This study further examines the process of localisation of the pattern on traditional Indonesian textiles.