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Joglo House, Unique House of Yogyakarta

Indian civilization had a profound impact on Indonesia, especially in Java and Sumatra. During this period the Mataram kingdom left an imprint on architecture in Java. For a millenium, Javanese aristocrats, courtiers, literati, and men of religion had been studying and adapting the ways of Indian civilization.

Buddhism and Hinduism eventually blended with the native Javanese animism to form unique combinations of structures and carvings with significant meanings. Temple architecture in Central Java, like the Dieng Plateau, Borobudur, and Prambanan, is testimony to the great civilization that flourished as a result of Indian influence. In the monumental architecture of the Hindu-Javanese society is a conception that the terrestrial order mirrors and embodies the celestial. The king is the sacred embodiment of the totality of the state, just as the king’s palace is a microcosmic copy of the microcosm.

To the Javanese, the king’s court and capitol form an image of divine order and a paradigm of social order. The court, it’s activity, it’s style, it’s organization, it’s whole form of life, is a reproduction of the worlds of the gods and provides a visible likeness of the invisable realm. Under the religious tradition of a stable world based on conflict, the task that every Javanese must perfom is to harmonize those conflicts. The duality of energy that is possessed by the poles of the dual order system is stabilized and harmonized by the third energy, the center.
The center, in the Javanese cosmology is the central part of the Cosmos, the cosmic mountain Mahameru. The center becomes direct manifestation of the Infinite, the Supreme God. The Mahameru is the Ultimate Center, the abode of the Supreme God, while man’s creation of this center is a temporary abode of the God of the Infinite.

A Javanese house is three separate structures forming a united whole. The first is the pendapa, an open pavilion which is used for the reception of guests and for performances. Intrictae carvings are found in each end of the four main pillars, the saka guru, within the central part of the pendapa. The second structure, the pringgitan, is where a temporary stage is erected each time the wayang perform a shadow puppet play. The third structure, the dalem ageng, is the only walled in structure that’s divided into two or three rooms. The krobongon, the central room, is the most sacred area of the whole house, for it is intended for the reception of the Goddess Sri, a symbol of fertility and the divine representative as well as the ancestor of Javanese people. It is also where any meditation and ritual acts are carried out. The two adjoining rooms are where the family sleeps at night.

The Javanese house is a sacred building whose sacredness is contained in the krobongan and the pendapa, and is amplified by the signification of the saka guru. The house is where worldly affairs manifest the sacredness of life.

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