A concept drawing of the Indonesian..err, actually, Javanese Women Warriors as part of the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited
which aims to portray Women Warriors of various cultures in a fictitious historical settings based on AD 800s - AD 1400s era of warfare. Kerajaan Pulau Rempah is the Indonesian for "Kingdom of the Spices Island", since Indonesian archipelago is known for its spices since ancient time. Her faction represents the height of the Historical Majapahit Empire, whose dominion covered much of the current Indonesian territory, to the Malayan peninsula and Sulu near Philippines. As for her name, it is taken from the actual historical figure of Queen Regent Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi the 3rd Majapahit Monarch, responsible for appointing Gajah Mada as her prime minister and responsible for expanding Majapahit's Territory to its largest extend.
Inspired by the music - www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_xHqf…
- Gending Jawa (Javanese Traditional Music, mostly reserved for the royalties)
Since I started the Historically Wrong Sketch Series, I have drawn many, many (anachronistic and inaccurate) representation of various cultures across the equally anachronistic universe, from Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia even as far as the New World. It was fun studying other people's cultures and drawing their representation through my art, and with the help of many people like you, (yes, you) I have expanded this series to be bigger than what I initially imagined. However, deep down inside, I feel the need to represent my own nation, being an Indonesian myself, into the series
It really saddens to see that not many people have drawn or know about my country (except Bali), let alone her history......so hopefully this drawing can bring more exposure about the history of my country Indonesia, amidst the Giants of medieval world like that of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia
And yes, please excuse me for my display of nationalistic pride
What is depicted in this drawing is probably somewhat more of a product of creativity rather than historical accuracy. The character itself is drawn based on the only surviving relief statue of Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi, which depicted her as Parvati. Complete with ornate jeweleries and expensive clothing with the Central Javanese Batik Pattern, she is probably one of the least armored Woman Warriors depicted in the series. As strange as it may seems, Warriors of earlier Majapahit wore little to no armor at all, even if they did, it would have been very very very rare and prohibitively expensive imports. Chainmails from Arabs and India were imported at a latter era, as can be seen on the bodyguards standing behind her, although this one is more common with the newly rising Muslim sultanates in Indonesia from 14th century onwards. Metal or leather scale would probably be more common, with China being the main major exporters. Resting next to her, is a covered Javanese dagger gcalled Kris, which has a distinctive curved wavy blade (not shown), famous for both its usage as weapon as well as spiritual object. In the scenery, I have included the famous tall gate Wringin Lawang, which can be found in the archeological site of Trowulan, former capital of Majapahit empire. Speaking to her is a group of Chinese diplomatic envoys, most likely of the Sino-Mongol Yuan Dynasty, which maintained trade contact with the Majapahit.
Dedicated to My indonesian friends, specially KaiKainat
whose art inspired this drawing, as well as joolita
for drawing of A Minang Suitor
Now, the next bit is the historical commentary part. Any feedback is much appreciated
The Indonesian Archipelago perhaps gained attention to the westerners when the European in the 16th Century tried to secure important spices trade such as nutmeg, cloves etc in the island of Maluku. The Dutch managed to gained dominance over the spices trade, first under the VOC, before passing under direct goverment control in the 19th century. But the origin of Indonesia's history has its own unique touch due to its geographical position.
History first recorded the earliest inhabitants of the Island of Java, Homo Erectus, or more commonly reffered to as the Java man, is at least 700,000 years old, however, fossils found in Sangiran with at least 1.6 millions of age, were shown to have been made by clamshells tool manually, giving further evidence of a much much earlier settlements. Another fossils, the Homo floresiensis or the Flores Man found in the island of Flores, whose discovery of stone tools dating from 1 million years ago, gave the oldest evidence anywhere in the world that early man had the technology to make sea crossings at this very early time. Despite of that, both the Java man and Flores man became extinct somewhere about 12,000 years ago. The current inhabitants of the Indonesian Archipelago descendent from the Austronesian people that migrated into the region around 2,000 BCE, possibly from Taiwan.
Given the local conditions, agriculture like rice cultivation flourished and a more sophisticated society emerged from around 8th century BCE, before the earliest Kingdom was recorded. Many of the earlier Kingdoms in Indonesia, were influenced by the Hindu-Buddhist civilization, like many in southeast Asia. The epic of ramayana mentioned the Island of Java under the name of Yavadvipa, and there were many influences found from the Southern Indian Kingdoms, like that of Pallavas and the Cholas. From then on, several indigenous kingdom and states emerged, like that of Malayan Srivijaya, Kallingas Kingdom, and Tarumanegara.
In the context of Medieval history, by the late 13th century, the most powerful kingdom in the archipelago was the Singhasari Kingdom, after the defeat of Melayu Kingdom. By this time, The Mongols had already conquered China and sent their envoys demanding tributes from Singhasari, to which, the king by the name of Kertanegara reject it. The Mongols Yuan retaliated by sending a massive expeditionary force of 1000 ships to Java, determined to subjugate the kingdom under their rule. However, at the same time, discontent grew withing the Singhasari, and one of its Adipati (vassal rulers like Duke), by the name of Jayakatwang, usurped the throne from Kertanegara. He pardoned Kertanegara's son in law, Raden Wijaya, and gave him the land of Tarik (trowulan) to govern. Sensing the instability within the kingdom, Raden Wijaya allied himself with the Mongolian Yuan expeditionary forces, and defeated Singhasari. Once it was done, he launched a surprise attack against the mongolian yuan forces that caused major confusion, which forced them to retreat back to china. Thus, Raden Wijaya managed to consolidate his rule and established the Kingdom of Majapahit over Java. His successors, Hayam Wuruk, the son of Queen Regent Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi, continued to expand the territories, and with the help of his prime minister Gajah Mada, the Majapahit Empire reached its greatest extend. It is common for Indonesian to see this as a symbol of national pride, where Gajah Mada is revered as Indonesia's true national hero.
The decline of the Empire came with the death of Gajah Mada and Hayam Wuruk. Plagued by succession crisis and instability, many of the Majapahit's vassals rebelled for independence and the Empire's border and influence were reduced to just half of the Java Island. It was also by this time, that Islam gained foothold in the region and brought Indonesia to a new era of Numerous powerful Islamic Sultanates that ruled over the archipelago. The earliest contact with Indonesia by the Muslims was recorded during the reign of Abbasids, and many arabs and Muslim Indian traders came to Indonesia and began spreading Islam to its local inhabitants. Contrary to the popular belief, Islam was also spread by the Chinese Muslims who came to Indonesia, the famous one being admiral Zeng He. The process of conversion was rather slow and fragmented, and the local populace still maintained its animistic tradition/practice alongside Islam, a distinct image which makes Indonesian Muslims differ from the rest of the world. by the 15th century, Islam had became a dominant religion in the western archipelago, surpassing Hinduism and Buddhism (who survived as smaller kingdoms, such as that in Bali). For most of the Eastern part however, the population remained largely animist, until the arrival of Europeans that made Christianity a dominant religion in the eastern area.
Developed form the original Indonesian/Minang Women Warriors
In the series, she will make contacts with the following characters/faction:
and the Indian
A Part of the Historically Wrong Sketch Series: Medieval Revisited - You can find more on the various faction on the map here: