Literature | Wednesday, July 4, 2012 | sundanesecorner.org
Denys Lombard, Gardens in Java, translated from French by John M. Miksic, Jakarta: École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), 2010, 86 pp. ISBN: 978-285-5394-81-7 (paperback).
I got this book from a Bandung bookstore, which provided printed materials especially for expatriates, a couple of days ago. The thin paperback was nearly unnoticeable among thick and vivid travel guides stored on the bookshelf. Up to that day I had been ignorant about Denys Lombard’s account of ancient gardens in Java. What I had read so far from the prominent French scholar was merely the Indonesian edition of his major works, mainly Nusa Jawa Silang Budaya (2005) issued in three volumes. Ms. Winarsih Arifin and friends translated the work from French entitled Le Carrefour Javanais (1990). Skimming over the pages of Gardens in Java at the moment I found the book, it seemed that travel guide section was not the right place for this work. Although it would exactly be of great value for travelers, for it provides detailed information of some interesting places in Java, this book is not a travel guide. It is rather a scholarly work on cultural aspects of Indonesia.
According to the editor, this book is English edition of Dr. Lombard’s work that was originally entitled ‘Jardin à Java.’ It first appeared in French in 1969 as one of articles issued by Arts Asiatiques (tome XX, 135-183). Denys Lombard (1938-1998) himself was director of École française d’Extrême-Orient from 1994 to 1998. He wrote extensively on Indonesia. In this study the author illustrates his observation with sketches and photographs, and makes 92 endnotes as well. Dr. John Miksic, who is himself a historian and archaeologist of Indonesia, translates Dr. Lombard’s unrivalled study on the subject.
(to be continued)