The Lords of the Gold Rings
With the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, a courtly culture developed on Java in which gold jewelery played a central role. Modern material analyzes in combination with cultural-historical investigations tell archaeologists a lot about its social importance.
When Prince Vessantara returned to his capital from exile, the gods sent red rain as a sign of their blessings and a promise of we alth. A sculptor in Java in the 9th century processed this legend in a relief of the Borobudur temple, the largest Buddhist sacred building of all. At that time, principalities had grown into kingdoms in the center of the island, in which gold played a central role: in the form of jewelry, it denoted the nobility, as material for religious buildings and works of art, the heavenly, as coinage, we alth and economic power. Accordingly, the unknown designer let it rain down on the relief in the form of coins and rings.
Java is part of Indonesia, which comprises more than 17,000 islands in Southeast Asia. The early history of the early 1st millennium was followed by a classical period in which Hinduism and Buddhism dominated, divided into early, middle and late periods (700-929, 929-1200 and 1200-1527). The center of power was long in Central Java and shifted to East Java in the 10th century. After the fall of the last great kingdom of Majapahit, the Hindu-Buddhist era ended and the Islamic phase began…