y Roger Sundberg
dynasty which it fought, tolerated, cooperated with, or even intermarried;that this dynasty did or did not subscribe to a tantric form of Buddhism.In particular, the vision of contention in the arena of Central Java betweentwo great dynasties - a Saiva dynasty stemming from their great championSanjaya and a Buddhist dynasty known to history as the Sailendra - has takena powerful hold on the scholarly historical imagination.
This paper offers anexamination of a neglected gold-plate inscription from Central Java whichbears impact on all of these subjects.The subject at hand is a Buddhist mantra inscribed on gold foil andunearthed from the Ratu Baka prominence,
kilometer's distance to the southof the famous Prambanan temple complex in Central Java sometime duringor just after the Second World War. Its only description in the archaeologicalliterature occurs in the report of its finding in
journal of the ArchaeologicalService of the former Netherlands East Indies
and the seemingly single analytical commentary devoted to it was thatoffered by the late Indonesian archaeologist Kusen (1994:85). The mantra'spresent location is unknown. I sought this mantra while in Java and it sadlyseems to have disappeared from all likely institutional repositories without atrace, a casualty of wartime, theft, or neglect. Luckily we are provided with ahand-drawn facsimile by the archaeologist Soehamir, who during the time ofthe Japanese occupation and subsequent war of independence had assumedoperating control of the Archaeological Service and was responsible forwriting its reports during this period.The mantra itself
worth some effort to describe (see Figure
as its vajra(diamond or thunderbolt) shape tends to confirm its message. The gold foilhas been snipped into the form of
double trapezoid, the physical dimensionsof which are unfortunately lacking in Soehamir's report. The foil has beeninscribed on both the leaves of each side with a short inscription written ina script commonly called Kawi or Paleojavanese. These four inscriptionsrepeat the basic mantra
hum jah svaha
but with a highly significant
See Jordaan (1999) for an account and evaluation of the postwar scholarship on the subjectof the Sailendras in Central Javanese history.
I wish to point out the rather frequent occurrence of another and very similar Buddhistmantra, running
which has been found in
number of Yogyakarta area inscriptions,including the inscriptions of Candi Abang (872
Vihara (874, a second instance of which hasrecently been recovered south of Yogyakarta and discussed in an unpublished conference paperby Rita Margaretha Setianingsih), Borobudur (undated gold foil mantra, treated by Boechari1976), Alih Tingal (undated but assigned to circa 883 by Damais 1970:49), and Paki Hum Jah(undated). I do not believe that Soehamir mistransliterated the inscription, mistaking the 'pa'for a somewhat similar 'ta'. The facsimile of Soehamir leads one to believe that his transliterationof 'ta' is the correct one, the character opening to the right rather than upwards. His choice oftransliteration is supported, as we shall see, by the double-vajra shape of the foil. Furthermore,to reverse the coin, personal inspection of four of the Paki Hum Jah inscriptions shows that their'pa' is very clearly chiseled; their mantra is not that of the Ratu Baka gold plate. I hope to soondevote a paper, parallel to this one, to the implications of the