Women of the Kakawin World: Marriage and Sexuality in the Indic Courts of Java and Bali
In this fascinating study the lives and mores of women in one of the least understood but most densely populated areas of the world are unveiled through the eyes of generations of court poets. For more than a millennium, the poets of the Indic courts of Java and Bali composed epic kakawin poems in which they recreated the court environment where they and their royal patrons lived. Major themes in this poetry form include war, love, and marriage. It is a rich source for the cultural and social history of Indonesia. Still being produced in Bali today, kakawin remain of interest and relevance to Balinese cultural and religious identities. This book draws on the epic kakawin poetry tradition to examine the institutions of courtship and marriage in the Indic courts. Its primary purpose is to explore the experiences of women belonging to the kakawin world, although the texts by nature reveal more about the discourses concerning women, sexuality, and gender than of the historical experiences of individual women. For over a thousand years these royal courts were major patrons of the arts. The court-sponsored epic works that have survived provide an ongoing literary testimony to the cultural and social concerns of court society from its ealiest recorded history until its demise at the end of the nineteenth century. This study examines the idealized images of women and sexuality that have pervaded Javanese and Balinese culture and provides insights into a number of cultural practices such as sati or bela (self-immolation of widows).
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Life at Court
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIVE MATERIALS
Courtship and Betrothal
The Ceremonies of Marriage
Death and Loyalty
The Poetics of Control
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abduction Abhimanyu Arjuna Bali Balinese Balinese kakawin beauty Bharatas bridal couple Burning century ceremony cousin cultural daughter Death by Sumanasa Depiction described descriptions detailed East Java Editions and translations elopement epic erotic gender Ghatotkaca Hari's Lineage hero Hindu husband in death Indian Indonesian archipelago Indumati inner court Java and Bali Javanese and Balinese Journeying ofPartha kakawin literature kakawin poets kakawin telling kakawin world Kalangwan Kama Khandawa Forest kidung king kraban kris Ksitisundari Kutaramanawa literary Lombok lovers Ma Huan Mahabharata Majapahit male Marriage ofAbhimanyu Marriage ofArjuna Marriage ofSubhadra marry P.J. Zoetmulder palace Pandawas Partha pavilion pidudukan poems practice priests prince princess Raghuvamsa Ramayana relationship religious Rescue ritual royal Rukmini ruler Sanskrit sati sexual Siwa Smara social sources Southeast Asia stanzas story Subhadra Sumanasa Flower Sutasoma swayambara Tale of Kresna Tale of Kunjarakarna Tale ofSutasoma texts textual tion Tome Pires traditions Victory ofArjuna wedding wife woman women Zoetmulder