This paper focuses on the architectural order of ancient Javanese temples. Contemporary writings often use a tripartite order to conceptualize Javanese temple architecture, which divide the edifice into three parts consisting of head, body, and feet. However, the overgeneralized nature of the orddoes not accurately represent the complexities of Javanese temples which contain diverse architectural elements. This has made discussion of Javanese temple architectural traits somewhat limited and undetailed. Further, the textual basis of this order is questionable. The concept has not been found in authentic Old Javanese source and only attested in modern sources as a conjecture. To support more nuanced discussion of Javanese temple architecture, the author proposes an alternative architecture order, dubbed the “vāstu order”. This order is created using an architecturahistorical research method in analyzing historical architectural treatise and samples of Javanese temple. Samples are limited to Hindu temples from the Mataram era (8-11th centuries). Comparison that the authors have conducted find that the elevation of all samples can visually divided into seven parts of the vāstu order: upapīṭha, adhiṣṭhāna, pada, prastara, gala, śikhara, astūpi. However, further inspection (using the temple’s head as an example) shows that each part han unusual or even unprecedented architectural elaboration from the supposed Indian protype. Thobservation contributes to the notion that Javanese temples shows a complex amalgamation of various Indian architectural elements into a distinct creative form. This study demonstrates that a conceptual shift from the conventional tripartite order into a more refined vāstu order permitted more detailed observations in various architectural elements of Javanese temples. Applying and testing the vāstu order to other temples would perhaps yield a more robust architectural order that useful in revealing the nature of Javanese temple architecture and its position within the web of cultural exchange between India and Southeast Asia.
- architectural order
- Indian temple