Tengger – god, land and people
Tengger – god, land and people – by Vincent Liew
This virtual exhibition is the milestone of a research project conducted in the region of Tengger, East Java, Indonesia, since 2017.
The images were photographed within the village of Ngadisari. The Tenggerese in Ngadisari have a rich Hindu culture retained from generations since their ancestors moved to the volcanic mountain region of Tengger in East Java. They built their homes around the sacred mountain Mt Bromo (named after Brahma the Hindu deity), where they form a ‘symbiotic’ relationship.
The Tenggerese are believed to be remnants of the former Majapahit kingdom that ruled a large segment of South East Asia during the period from A.D.1293 to circa A.D.1517. Very much like their Balinese kindred, they were one of the few surviving Hindu communities in Indonesia.
Village Ngadisari has a Hindu-majority and it is a significant Hindu community in Java that still preserves ancestral customs and traditions. Initial data examinations show that the number of Hindus in Indonesia has been undergoing a steady decline between 1971, 2000 and 2010 despite a gradual increase in the population since the last half of the century. The percentage of Hindus fell from 1.94% in 1971 to 1.81% in 2000 and to 1.69% in 2010 (UNSD, 2010). From the census performed in 2010, only 0.3% of Hindus were identified in East Java and concentrated in the area where Ngadisari is situated (BPS, 2010). Based on these data, their traditions are gravely at risk of dissipating from Java.
The photography project is aimed at documenting the Tenggerese, to provide an archive and visual experience of their world.