Yogyakarta. Temple Ruins: Details of Sculpted Figures


This photograph taken near Jakarta, Indonesia is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress.  Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography, whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890–1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. In Java and the East Indies; Java, Sumatra, Celebes, the Moluccas, New Guinea, Borneo, and the Malay peninsula (1923), part of his Carpenter's World Travels series, Carpenter wrote: “I have looked upon the Parthenon at Athens, the Forum of old Rome, the myriad ruins of India, and the Pyramids of Egypt, but nowhere have I found anything like the remains of the old temples of Java.… The most wonderful of all lies within a few miles of Djokjakarta. It is known as Boro Budur, which means the 'Shrine of many Buddhas.' Boro Budur is the greatest monument ever erected to Buddha. It surpasses the temples of Siam and the giant Buddhas of Bangkok. It is more wonderful than the Japanese creations in bronze and stone and larger than any Buddhist monument in China. Some of you have seen the Pyramids. The greatest of them is that of Cheops, the base of which covers thirteen acres and upon which several hundred thousand men are said to have worked for twenty years. If that so the Boro Budur must represent the labour of more than half a million. It is not quite so large as the Great Pyramid, but the work upon it was infinitely greater.”

Last updated: September 29, 2014