Loro Blonyo - the Inseparable Couple. Java , Indonesia. 20th Century. Carved and Painted Wood.

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Loro Blonyo
the Inseparable Couple
20th Century

Carved and Painted Wood

“ Loro blonyo, or the 'inseparable couple,' are a carved wooden pair of Javanese matrimonial figures. It is said that these were first created during the reign of Sultan Agung of the Mataram Kingdom (1613-1645). Customarily, they are placed in the middle of the three rooms that form part of the living quarters in a joglo or traditional house. This is a sacred central place where a ceremonial bed and the two figures oversee a living shrine where Javanese-style semiotics, rituals, and historical syncretism converge and are perpetually maintained.

The couple reflects the philosophical and mystical union between female and male principles as represented by Dewi Sri and her consort, Raden Sadono. Dewi Sri is the goddess of rice, good harvests, and the insurer of fertility. She is also the female embodiment of the Hindu god Vishnu. In this instance, 'Syncretism' means a layered understanding of culture that has spanned Java's Animistic, Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic legacies to become something kejawen or quintessentially Javanese.
Loro blonyo are protective, generative doppelgangers. They are also conjugally the embodiment of pitutur luhur, the counsel and advice of one's ancestors or ancestral line. Luhur literally means '(our deepest) roots.' To this day, the Sultan of Yogyakarta must administer his realm from the summit of the great sacred volcano, Mt. Merapi, to the edge of the sea at Parangtritis Beach. The city of Yogyakarta was built exactly equidistant from these two polarities to augur for grace, universal harmony, and spiritual balance. “
~ Steven G. Alpert
Art of the Ancestors

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