JACQUES-EDOUARD BERGER FOUNDATION:World Art Treasures

The Sailendra dynasty is said to hark back indirectly to India by being cousins to the Chandella dynasty, which left numerous monuments in India between the 7th and 8th centuries (most notably, the Khajuraho temples). Allegedly, a schism in the family occurred between those remaining faithful to Hinduism - the Chandella dynasty, which stayed in Khajuraho - and the Sailendra branch which, having converted to Buddhism, set off for Indonesia as early as the 4th century.
The Sailendra dynasty reached its zenith in Indonesia during the 7th, 8th, and 9th centuries. Their king was considered the founder of Borobudur; he bore the name Indra (Hindu god represented on an elephant - god of rain, monsoons, storms and winds). The fact that the founder of this most fabulous Buddhist shrine bore a Hindu name shows the ambiguity of the Sailendra dynasty's position between Buddhism and Hinduism. The shrine was actually signed or co-signed by Indra's son, King Samaragunta (also spelled Samaratunga). The latter turned the com pleted monument over to the Buddhist monks, who enjoyed royal sponsorship. Just as in classical India, in Java the dynasties generally continued Hindu names and beliefs. At the same time, they opened their minds to Buddhist doctrines, effecting a sort of unofficial conversion, which they concretized in the form of a gift of land, money or even pensions to the Buddhist monks who, in return, affected a tolerant and protecting attitude towards the royalty.


introduction
back to the introduction
suite
continuation