The meditation of Arjuna (temple cloth)

Southeast Asian Collection

Accession Nr.: 52.143.1
Type: painting; textile; hanging scroll
Date of production:
late 19th − first half of the 20th century
Place of production:
Materials/Techniques: textile, watercolour, varnish
Dimensions: height: 28 cm
length: 323 cm
Typical Balinese scroll painting in the Kamasan style. The narrow strip shows a group of girls bathing and performing acts of sacrifice.

The 11th century Old Javanese story (Arjunawiwaha), also common in wayang plays, tells the story of the meditation of one of the Pandawa brothers and his victory over the demon Niwatakawaca.

The detail shown in the picture depicts the scene when Indra tries to tempt and dislodge the hero, who is striving to attain virtue, with beautiful nymphs (bidadari). However the temptation fails, and Arjuna stands the test and becomes worthy to be the messenger of the gods in the fight against the demons.