The Mirror of the Practice: Indic Models Internalized in the Indonesian Archipelago

Yigal Bronner, Helen Creese, Thomas M. Hunter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This chapter explores the adaptation of Indic poetic models in Java and Bali, where practice (prayoga) took precedence over theory (śāstra), and where Dandin’s Mirror and other cultural grammars left little concrete trace. The chapter’s first part revisits the earliest known work from Java, the Old Javanese Rāmāyaṇa, an adaptation of a Sanskrit poem by Bhatti that teaches grammar and poetics by example. Here the work’s “ornamental blocks” are analyzed for modes of imparting and experimenting with ornaments found in manuals such as Dandin’s. The second half explores the later history of kakawin literature by focusing on introductory statements by poets and on manuals such as the Life Breath of Poetry (Bhāṣaprāṇa). The chapter shows that technical knowledge about poetry was continuously taught in classrooms in Java and Bali and suggests that kakawin’s playful internalization of Dandin’s modularity and openness eventually rendered his Mirror superfluous.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationA Lasting Vision
Subtitle of host publicationDandin’s Mirror in the World of Asian Letters
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages54
ISBN (Electronic)9780197642924
ISBN (Print)9780197642924
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2023.


  • Bhatti
  • Bhāṣaprāṇa
  • Dandin
  • Kakawin
  • Old Javanese
  • Old Javanese Rāmāyaṇa
  • Ornamental block
  • Pedagogy
  • Prayoga
  • śāstra


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