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The Dikpālas of ancient Java revisited: A new identification for the 24 directional deities on the Śiva temple of the Loro Jonggrang complex

Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. 2012;168(2/3):274-313


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde

ISSN: 0006-2294 (Print); 2213-4379 (Online)

Publisher: BRILL

Society/Institution: Vereniging KITLV (NL)

LCC Subject Category: History (General) and history of Europe: History of Oceania (South Seas) | Language and Literature: Languages and literature of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania

Country of publisher: Netherlands

Language of fulltext: Dutch, English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Andrea Acri

Roy Jordaan


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Caṇḍi Śiva, sacred centre of the famous ninth-century Loro Jonggrang temple complex at Prambanan, Central Java, is decorated with numerous iconic and narrative reliefs. Starting from the eastern staircase and traversing the perambulatory in a clockwise direction, we find the narrative reliefs of the Rāmāyaṇa on the balustrade wall on our left, and the iconic reliefs of twenty-four seated male deities, each flanked by several attendants – collectively referred to in the accompanying iconographic plan as ‘Lokapālas with attendants’– on our right, that is, on the temple body proper. The prime objective of the present inquiry is propose a new identification of this set of twenty-four deities forming Śiva’s entourage, which remains an unresolved issue in the art history of Central Java. Our findings will have implications for our understanding of the iconographical master plan of Loro Jonggrang, and, in a wider sense, of certain developments in Indo-Javanese and Balinese iconography.