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Loro Blonyo – sculptures of a young couple representing Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice, and her husband Sadhono. The Loro Blonyo figures are an inseparable couple. Like the deities, they are considered symbols of fertility, granting the ability to have many descendants and to ensure good harvests, happiness, and prosperity, as well as a long life in good health and peace.

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Loro Blonyo – sculptures of a young couple representing Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice, and her husband Sadhono. The Loro Blonyo figures are an inseparable couple. Like the deities, they are considered symbols of fertility, granting the ability to have many descendants and to ensure good harvests, happiness, and prosperity, as well as a long life in good health and peace. In the traditional homes of central Java, in particular in the palaces and houses of the wealthy, they had a special room where they were placed before a ceremonial bed serving as a place of rest for the deities. The figures reflected the position of a family; the more impressive and refined the sculptures, the higher the social status of the family. Their presence in a house guaranteed prosperity and a long life together; their appearance and characteristics vary depending on a particular village or region.

The young couple are dressed in traditional costumes – properly draped batik sarongs tied around the waist with a decorative belt. The bride's hairstyle and the groom's headgear are also traditional. The way of seating is also specially defined – with crossed or pulled-up legs in the half-lotus position. During the marriage ceremony, carved figures representing deities were temporarily replaced by a real bride and groom dressed in traditional clothes, who had to remain in the same seated motionless position as the figures because only then could they count on the goddess's blessing, prosperity and fruitful marriage. The groom usually sits on the right, and the bride on the left, though it is the opposite in Surakarta. Sometimes, instead of seated figures, Javanese puppets depicting Arjuna and Subhadra can be seen, which are depictions of Vishnu and Sri Devi.       

In the modern homes of the Javanese society there are no longer special rooms and ceremonial beds for these figures. Although they can still be found in many homes, they no longer fulfil their ritual functions.

Elaborated by the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków, © all rights reserved

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Marian Raciborski’s Indonesian collection

Marian Raciborski was a botanist who stayed in Java from 1896 to 1900 at the invitation of the Dutch government to conduct research on ferns and crop plants; he worked in the Botanical Garden in Buitenzorg (the present-day Bogor), where he wrote 31 scientific works.

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Marian Raciborski was a botanist who stayed in Java from 1896 to 1900 at the invitation of the Dutch government to conduct research on ferns and crop plants; he worked in the Botanical Garden in Buitenzorg (the present-day Bogor), where he wrote 31 scientific works. Raciborski was one of the first Poles to see the beauty and originality of the rich culture of the Indonesian islands, a small part of which was also brought back home by him in the form of natural specimens (for the Botanical Garden of the Jagiellonian University) and pieces of art and artisan objects (for the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków). His entire ethnographic collection, of over 200 artefacts was donated by him to the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków just before he died in 1917, among which there was: a valuable collection of weapons, especially kris and other types of daggers (over sixty); a large collection of puppets from shadow puppet and puppet theatres (74); valuable fabrics with hand-applied batik techniques (10) and a number of other everyday objects from the island of Java, as well as many objects from Sumatra and Borneo.
The Indonesian collection of Raciborski, though it is not numerically large, has special value; the objects he collected were not mass produced for tourists, but had been created for the needs of the soul; their creators had made a huge effort to make the works as perfect as possible, because only then could they properly fulfil their role. The awareness of this contributes to the fact that today these objects seem to have their own soul and power to influence the viewer and their imagination.

Elaborated by The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków, Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

 

See objects from the collection of Marian Raciborowski:
“Arjuna” — “Wayang Golek” theatre puppet
Tree of life “Gunungan” — shadow theatre figure “wayang kulit purwa” from Indonesia
Sculptures of young couple from Indonesia

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Sculptures of young couple from Indonesia

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