Threads of the Unfolding Web: The Old Javanese Tantu Panggelaran

Threads of the Unfolding Web: The Old Javanese Tantu Panggelaran
Threads of the Unfolding Web is essential reading for scholars, students and the general reader interested in Javanese history of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Little is known about the history of Java in this period, which witnessed the beginnings of major global economic, political, cultural and religious change. It was a time when Java saw the decline of the once powerful eastern Javanese kingdom of Majapahit, the rise of Muslim kingdoms on Java’s northern coast and the arrival of the first Europeans in the person of the Portuguese Tomé Pires in Java’s cosmopolitan ports.

Stuart Robson’s expert English translation of the Tantu Panggelaran gives his readers ready access to this important work, which provides insight into how the author and his contemporary Javanese readers imagined the realities of the world in which they lived. We learn how they conceived the creation of this world and understood the relationship between the gods and men. Importantly, we learn also how they conceived a history of the foundation and spread of Bhairava Śivaite hermitages, shrines and temples. The work traces the history of this network from its origins in the vicinity of the Dieng plateau and the northern plains of Batang and Pekalongan to its subsequent expansion to the Tengger and Hyang Massifs of eastern Java. Hadi Sidomulyo’s impressive commentary, an amalgam of textual analysis and the survey of archaeological sites, is a model for the way in which further research of this sort might be conducted and underlines the urgent need for further archaeological surveys and the future excavation of archaeological sites.


Stuart Robson, Hadi Sidomulyo


ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute



Publication date

1 Jan 2021 – 31 Dec 2021






Southeast Asia