TENGGER MOUNTAINS, EAST JAVA, possibly 14th-15th century

Works from the Donald Friend Collection
27 October 2013


TENGGER MOUNTAINS, EAST JAVA, possibly 14th-15th century

bronze beaker decorated with the signs of the Javanese zodiac

12.5 cm diameter

$2,000 - 4,000
Catalogue text

Dated examples of zodiac beakers range from 1321 to 1430 (Majapahit period). The most common type is decorated with two rows of twelve motifs. The lower row consists of motifs that can be identified as the twelve signs of the zodiac. The name prasen is said to derive from the Sanskrit rasi (sign of the zodiac). The motifs of the upper row have not been identified with certainty. They are still used in Bali and as receptacles for holy water by the Tenggerese of East Java. Modern examples have sometimes been cast after old models with the result that they may still retain the old dates. Not all bronze pots were used to store water; sometimes they held precious objects (Lunsingh Scheurleer ,1988, pp. 45-46).