Skip to main content

The Body of the King: Reappraising Singhasari Period Syncretism

  • Thomas M. Hunter (a1)

This article argues for a reassessment of the history of the Singhasari period based on disambiguating diverse historical sources that have often been combined to produce a seamless narrative, when in fact the textual record is marked by conflict, contradiction and ambiguity. The author proposes a basic division between the perspective of kakawin literature, which represents the interests of royal and priestly actors with a large stake in maintaining a fixed symbolic order, and literature in Middle Javanese, which reflects the more personal values that arose among young royals competing for favourable position in the core-line status hierarchy. The author further claims that symbolic initiatives of Krtanagara (1265–92 CE) that led to his identification as ‘the god Shiva-Buddha’ were not aimed at producing a syncretic religious system, but rather a politico-religious hegemony that had profound effects on the shape of statecraft during the Majapahit era.

Hide All
This paper is based on a draft prepared for the ‘Celebrating Cultural Heritage’ symposium of the Museum Nasional of Jakarta, held in August 2005. The author wishes to thank Prof Dr Edi Sedyawati for her invitation to participate in the symposium, the participants of the symposium for their insights, and two anonymous readers of an earlier draft for this paper for their invaluable comments and criticisms. Special thanks also to Nigel Bullough of the Nandiswara Foundation for sharing his insights on historical and geographical aspects of the inscriptional record, and to Dr Machi Suhadi of the National Centre for Archaeological Research (Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional) for kindly allowing use of his transcription of the six new plates of the Mula Malurung inscription recently discovered in Kediri, East Java.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-4634
  • EISSN: 1474-0680
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-southeast-asian-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed