Majapahit: Inspiration for the World
Editors: Catrini Kubontubuh and Peter Carey
Yayasan Arsari Djojohadikusumo, 2014, 111 pages, 25 cm
ISBN 978-602-70039-3-4 (hard cover)
The present volume illustrates these powerful associations linked to the name Majapahit through three initial chapters which explore in turn Majapahit’s relations with the world (Miksic, Chapter 1), the ways in which rituals currently practised in Bali reflect Majapahit precedent (made Wijaya, Chapter 2) and the dynamic and fluid nature of the Majapahit polity as illustrated in the Panji Stories and Rakwi Prapanca’s Nagarakertagma panegyric to the glory of the kingdom at its fourteenth-century height (1365) (Vickers, Chapter 3). These all celebrate the wonder that was Majapahit as pre-colonial state. Unfortunately, there is also a darker side to this inspirational legacy. This has to do with the reality of the present-day remains of the vanished court-city. The extant historical and archaeological data show us how the Majapahit empire may have managed its international diplomacy in what one might call the first ‘global age’ when Zheng He’s (1371-1433) ocean-going fleets brought Ming-dynasty Chinese to the shores of East Africa. This legacy still informs present-day international politics and diplomatic relations in the social, cultural, economic and political realms.
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