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12th century stone statue of Lord Ganesha in Indonesia

     Jakarta: Archaeologists, in Indonesia, have recovered a rare 12th century stone statue of Lord Ganesha, which is the only one in the country in which the elephant-headed deity is depicted as riding atop a mouse. According to a report in the Jakarta Post, a research team from the Mpu Purwa Historical Object Preservation Center in Malang, East Java, recovered the statue. "The mouse is apparently included as an animal used by Ganesha as a vehicle, but this type of statue has never been found in Indonesia before. Ganesha is usually seen riding the Lembu Nandhini cow, the Jatayu bird, or the Padmasana lotus," said Malang archeologist Suwardono. Other singularities of this statue, recently handed over by a private collector, include Ganesha's stiff facial expression and a badhong carving on the shoulders. The decorations worn by the god, also called samboghakaya, are also more lavish. "The badhong strand is part of the special trait of statues inherited from the Kediri empire, from the Raja Baneswara to Kertajaya kingdoms. The most special trait is the mouse as a vehicle on the pedestal of the statue," Suwardono said. Suwardono said he had cross-checked the statue with the National Archeology Research and Development Center in Jakarta, the Trowulan Center for Archeological Conservation and Heritage in Mojokerto, and the Archeological Center in Yogyakarta, the results of which confirmed the statue was a one-of-a-kind that had never been seen before. The epigraphist and iconographer explained that the 40- by 22- by 22-centimeter statue, intended to be placed in temples, originated in northern India and gradually spread further southward. The statue is usually placed at the back of a temple for worship. It functions as a balance and a guardian for unsafe areas and is related to worship to ward off disaster. The statue was obtained from a collector named Jayusman, a resident of Jl. Sambas in Malang. Jayusman said he had obtained the statue from a Chinese-Indonesian collector a long time ago. Suwardono found the special traits after analyzing the statue for the past two weeks. "These artifacts are priceless and sought after by collectors," Suwardono said.
-Apr 2, 2009    

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