The development of Indonesian art in its various manifestations appears to be constantly characterized by three fundamental components: the persistent tradition of ethnological cultures, the transforming action carried out by the art of Dong Sonculture (which acted in a period of sensitive influences from late China Chou) and the decisive influence exerted by Indian civilization, from which Indonesia derived aesthetic concepts and stylistic and iconographic traditions. In the Indonesian archipelago, during the first millennium BC, the monumental style of megalithic cultures (divided into the periods of dolmens and lithic slab tombs) slowly took over the curvilinear decorative styles introduced with the art of the Dong Son culture, the oldest metallurgical civilization in Southeast Asia, flourished in Yunnan and in northern Viet Nam. The ornamental styles acquired by the Indonesians through this Bronze culture found expressive possibilities in the most diverse applications of forms of art and crafts made in various places in the archipelago (Celebes, Flores, Tanimbar, etc.). In other tribes (central Borneo and central Flores, for example) stylistic trends influenced by Chinese art of the late Chou period developed. Both the styles coming from the Dongsonian culture and those derived from the Chinese figurative culture have given life in Indonesia to a repertoire of decorative motifs whose tradition has persisted over time with extreme coherence (its essential characteristics are still identifiable in some contemporary products of art popular). Moon of Bali) and ritual axes, of which original examples are those in bronze, cast in a single piece, with a disc-shaped blade from the island of Roti. The evolution of Indonesian art is defined in the first centuries of the Christian era in the context of Indian civilization (according to the styles of eastern and southern India) which introduced Mahāyāna Buddhism and Brahmanism to the archipelago, to whose cults the kingdoms of Śailendra and Mataram dedicated between the sec. VIII and X the most important monuments of Indo-Javanese architecture, which characterize the artistic period of Central Java. Among the numerous Buddhist monuments built in the Prambanam plain (Kalasan, Sari, Sewu) and the Hindu ones built above all on the Dieng plateau (complex of Arjuna, Dvaravati, Chatotkatja, Bima), the gigantic and complex structure of the Bārābudur, built in the plain of Kedu (9th century) and conceived as a huge stūpa. The shift of political power in the eastern territories of the island determined, after a transitional period (10th-12th century) in which a new type of funerary monument appeared (funerary pools of Jalatunda and Belahan on the side of Mount Penanggungan), the artistic period of Eastern Java (XII-XV century), which marked a new evolution of architecture and a renaissance of the arts in general (monumental complex of Panataran). The remains of contemporary architecture and sculptures in Sumatra reveal their affinity with Java art (monuments of Muara Takus and Padang Lawas). The architecture of Hinduism assumed original forms (especially in cave temples) in the island of Bali, the extreme refuge of the Hindu religion after the Muslim penetration in Java and Sumatra, where however aspects of Indonesian art found a way to survive and grafted onto the manifestations of the Islamic one.
The interference of elements of the local tradition appears stronger in the subsequent developments of Hindu architecture in Bali (monuments of Bangli, Batur, Besa kin) of which the sanctuaries are characteristic meru (architectural interpretation of the sacred mountain) consisting of a cell surmounted by a high roof with overlapping elements (species of gopuram) and built in wood with masonry reinforcements. After the sec. XVII the artistic production of Bali, Java and other centers is limited to manifestations of the minor arts. These include the refined tradition of metalworking (excellent granulation and filigree techniques), especially in the production of weapons (kris and ceremonial weapons). Expression of high artistic craftsmanship are the various types of wayang puppets; the processing of carved and sculpted ivory; the batik techniquefor textile decoration; finally, popular painting, practiced above all in Bali. § Islam gradually penetrated Indonesia, through trade and cultural exchanges, especially from the Indian region of Gujarat. Small Muslim kingdoms were formed in Sumatra, one of which, Samudra, reached considerable importance around 1300. The kingdom of Pasei was imposed instead in the second half of the century. XIV, before ceding the role of Indonesia’s most important trading state to Malacca. However, Muslim artistic manifestations maintained typically Hindu characteristics in Java and the rest of the country. Thus the minaret of Kudus and the mosque of Sendang Duwur, both of the century. XVI, retain architectural elements of the monuments of East Java, even if the figurative decoration disappears. Later, many mosques were built of wood, as well as royal palaces (kraton), which have come down to us. § In the last decades of the twentieth century we have witnessed the flourishing of Indonesian modern art that re-elaborates the western expressionist, abstract and informal tendencies, in the light of the local pictorial tradition. Among the most original artists are Zaini, Oman Effendi, Rut Mochtar and above all Saptohodojo Kartika and Affandi. Modern architecture in Indonesia, a country located in Asia according to Collegesanduniversitiesinusa, has welcomed many of the trends typical of the Western world, without however renouncing the legacy of local tradition, especially in the furnishings and atmospheres of the interiors.