It focuses on a transitional period between the 16th and 18th centuries, when pre-modern ‘Indonesian’ communities first embraced Islam. It does so by exploring the concept of kramat, often used in the Malay Islamic world to designate the gravesites of venerated figures. It examines kramat through a wider lens, as a locus of supernatural power where the mundane and the divine unite, thus applying not only to graves but also to other loci of power. Kramat is site-specific, with a strong connection to the landscape and not transferable or movable. One such site is considered in depth: Sendang Duwur in Lamongan, East Java, in which the grave of Sunan Sendang is located. Using kramat as an operative framework, the lecture puts forward alternative art historical examinations of Sendang Duwur beyond artistic assessment by looking closely at ideation and visualisation in and around sacred topography. Presumed to have been erected in the second half of the 16th century atop an ancient Hindu site, the Sendang Duwur mosque and its gravesite are shown to embody varied mechanisms operating the changing meanings and values of Hindu-Buddhist sites in the Islamicisation of Indonesia.
Panggah Ardiyansyah is a PhD researcher of History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS University of London. His doctoral research focuses on the afterlives of Hindu-Buddhist materials in pre-modern Indonesia. He reads broadly on Southeast Asian art, including the ways in which ancient materials have been re-used and appropriated in more recent times through various productions of knowledge. His interest in colonial collecting has led him to engage closely with the questions around object restitution and how this process can decolonise the ways we write art histories from the region. Currently, he is a core member of the research project Circumambulating Objects: On Paradigms of Restitution of Southeast Asian Art, where he is keen to foster equitable and collaborative discourses beyond modern nation-states and “East-West” binary. Coming from Indonesia, he is also personally invested in reading about the historiography of modern Indonesia.
Marieke Bloembergen is a cultural historian and senior researcher at KITLV, and professor in Heritage and Postcolonial Studies in Indonesian History at Leiden University’s Colonial and Global History Department. Her research interests concern the political dynamics of cultural knowledge production in colonial and post-colonial Indonesia, as understood in their local, inter-Asian and global dimensions, and with a focus on networks of material culture, heritage practices, religion, memory, and policing.
This seminar is a hybrid event and will be held in the conference room of KITLV (room 1.68) and online via Zoom, on Thursday 15 February from 15.30 – 17.00 PM (CET).
1. On location: if you want to join this seminar on location, please register via: [email protected].
2. Online: if you wish to join this webinar online, please register here.
The cemetery at Sendang Duwur, Lamongan, Java. Photographer: Panggah Ardiyansyah.