Happy new year! I hope this year will be a wonderful and interesting one. I pray for your health and prosperity, may this year be a very great and unforgettable with lots of love and good things in your life. I also pray for your family, may they be in a good health also. Let’s close the book, the book of 2016, and start a new one, the book of 2017 with a new and fresh perspective.
How was your New Year’s Eve? Mine was kind of dull and boring. I slept all night because I was too exhausted after visiting an abandoned mausoleum. I slept from 8 pm, to be waken up in 11, seeing my cellphone (and realized that 2017 hasn’t come yet), slept again and when I woke up next morning, it’s already January!
But it was fun and in its own way, as for the first week of this new year I was embarked on a historically prestigious journey. What a … week! My short hiatus from this blogging was very exhilarating, and I can’t wait for another journey across this beautiful and historical island of Java. I’ll write more on this topic later, but some of you who’ve followed my Instagram should’ve seen many excerpts from places I’ve visited last week.
Enough for the not-so-important opening talk (but I do love word vomit). So, I think the first theme in 2017 for the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge is “Names”. As the post has stated, the bloggers (we) should find names around us. I agree with the post that we could find names everywhere, as everything has name, so this theme won’t be that difficult to interpret.
But what is “name”? A dictionary says that “name” are (yes, it has many meanings) (1) words to call a person (or a place, a thing, an animal, etc) or (2) title or term. In a more brief meaning, then yes, a name is an identity. Identity of anything, that distinct it from other things. Shakespeare may said “What’s in a name?”, but name is important in its own way that if something, if any, doesn’t have a name, then an inconvenience should occur. You use name (as one approach) to distinguish apple from orange, right?
And without further ado, here is my entry for this week’s theme:
I honestly think that a name, and also an identity, is not just defined by a sequence of alphabets. Anything could reflects an identity of something. For my picture, it’s numbers. Not just numbers, but this kind of numbers are specific to the old Hindu-Buddhist temples from Indonesian classical era: the chronogram. It’s not until the Majapahit Era that the usage of chronograms, simple chronograms, became common. Before that, our ancestors used metaphors, a sentence that must be interpreted in a way to find out when was an event occured. I’m not saying that metaphors were no longer used since then, but for temples, people use chronograms more than just metaphors.
So, without a doubt, you should know that the temple–which identity is left unknown (haha) is from Majapahit era. But I also think that even if I reveal the temple’s name, just by knowing its name still doesn’t provide much information. “What is this place” is still a question. But when we look at the chronograph, even without knowing the temple’s name, at least you know when it was built and what events followed or preceded.
So let’s take a closer look at the chronogram.
With the same logic as I’ve used before when reading the Candi Pari’s chronogram, the interpretation is like this:
- Of course it’s not AD, it’s the Saka year. Add 78 to find the CE number: it’s 1301 CE. That easy. By just knowing Balinese numerals, you could read almost every chronogram on Majapahit’s temples. It’s because numerals in Old-Javanese scripts haven’t changed that much. You could spot the similarities between Old-Javanese with the present Javanese (and also Balinese, I used the latter to read the numbers).
What happened at 1301? Who was the king back then? I left those questions to you, to be answered. But the thing is, even though you don’t know the temple’s name (YET), at least you know what happened at that time. And it’s worth more than just a name. I ask that to myself, too, but there is an intriguing fact to the chronogram: I read it from left to right, not from right to left as usual.
I know that there are a lot of questions still left unanswered.