Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia
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This paper seeks to explore the lives of ancient Hindu-Buddhist materials during the transitional period of pre-modern Indonesian communities into Islam between the 16th and 18th centuries. It will do so by exploring the concept of keramat, often used in the Malay Islamic world to designate sites of venerated notable figure’s graves. As have been noted before, many well-known keramat sites were founded between 1500 and 1800 in peninsular Southeast Asia. However, the paper will employ a wider dimension of keramat as a locus of supernatural power where the mundane and the divine come together, thus applying not only to graves but to other places as well. As such, keramat is site-specific, with a strong connection to the landscape and not transferable or movable. The analysis will deal with two examples, namely Borobudur temple and Sendang Duwur mosque. While Sendang Duwur mosque and its sacred grave were presumably erected in the second half of the 16th century on the top of an ancient Hindu site, the ruins of 9th-century Borobudur monument continues to play an important part in the social memory of 18th-century Javanese. Together, they represent varied mechanisms in the changing meanings and values of Hindu-Buddhist sites in the face of Islamisation in Indonesia. The paper aims to contribute to decolonising Indonesian art history and archaeology by deconstructing the rigid categorisation separating classical and Islamic antiquities, and reconstructing the history of ancient Hindu-Buddhist materials, which lingered across times and cultures through complex layers of appropriations, transactions and reconfigurations.