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The sage who divided Java in 1052: Maclaine Pont’s excavation of Mpu Bharada's hermitage-cemetery at Lĕmah Tulis in 1925

In: Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia
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  • 1 . amritgo@planet.nl
Open Access

Architect Henri Maclaine Pont’s personal papers indicate that he almost certainly excavated the medieval hermitage-cemetery of the eleventh-century sage, Empu Bharada, in 1925. Careful field study in the former royal capital of Majapahit, analysis of the relevant Old Javanese texts and interviews with local residents have enabled an accurate identification of Maclaine-Pont’s exacavation site at the former children’s cemetery of Lemah Tulis where Bharada lived as a hermit. The authors argue that the famous Joko Dolog (‘Fat Youth’) statue now in Surabaya depicts the Buddhist sage who divided Java between King Airlangga’s two sons in 1052, and conclude by urging a new excavation of this most significant historical site.

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