Universität Bonn

Abteilung für Südostasienwissenschaft

Dr. Lydia Kieven

Dr. Lydia Kieven at Candi Panataran, East Java
© Dr. Lydia Kieven

Dr. Lydia Kieven

Berrenrather Str. 315 c

50937 Köln

Short bio Dr. Lydia Kieven (born 1956 in Jülich, Germany)

Lydia Kieven obtained her PhD degree in Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Sydney. She lives in Cologne/Germany. She is an expert in ancient Javanese art, in particular of East Javanese temple reliefs depicting the so-called Panji stories. The publication Following the cap-figure in Majapahit temple reliefs, based on her PhD thesis, was published by Brill in Leiden/NL in 2013, followed by the Indonesian translation published by EFEO Jakarta in 2014. She has been involved in activities surrounding the revitalization of ancient Javanese traditions, in particular of the "Panji tradition". In recent years she has continued doing research on other aspects of the Panji tradition and Panji literature. She published a number of articles and books on the topics of her interest and expertise, in German, English and Indonesian language, and she gave lectures in different countries.

She has been teaching Indonesian Language at German universities and institutes since 2003, and lecturing on Javanese culture and ancient Javanese art, among others at the department of Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Frankfurt, at the University of Heidelberg, and at the University of Bonn. 


  • Lecturer at University of Bonn, topics:  Indonesian/Javanese culture; cultural heritage; decolonization and repatriation issues between the Netherlands and Indonesia;
  • affiliated to the Departments of Asiatic and Islamic Art History, and of Southeast Asian Studies, within the IOA Institute of Oriental Studies, University of Bonn
  • Teaching of Bahasa Indonesia (universities, private courses)


  • Organization and management of a tour of a Javanese group of artists performing a creation of shadow play "Panji Jantur", in 5 places in Germany and the Netherlands; cooperation with universities, museums, Indonesian embassy in Berlin


  • Teacher at Goethe-University Frankfurt in Southeast Asian Studies: Indonesian culture, Indonesian language and literature

since 1997          

  • Freelance lecturer at Universities of Köln, Münster, Heidelberg and Bonn: Indonesian language and culture;
  • translations of Indonesian papers and articles into English and German, translations in court affairs from Indonesian to German and vice versa.


  • Guiding of study-tours to Indonesia


  • Establishing a network of European gamelan groups, and organization of a tour of gamelan workshops run by Javanese teachers


  • PhD in Southeast Asian Studies, University of Sydney,
    PhD thesis: Meaning and function of the figure with a cap in the temple reliefs of the Majapahit period — a contribution to a new understanding of the religious function of the temples
    (publication list 2013; Indonesian translation 2014/2017)


  • Master of Arts [Studies of Malay languages and cultures], University of Cologne
    M.A. thesis: The asceticism of Arjuna – its presentation in the Old Javanese Arjunawiwaha and in selected East Javanese reliefs
    (publication list 1994)


  • Diploma (Erstes Staatsexamen für das Lehramt am Gymnasium), thesis: Surrealismus bei Magritte und Max Ernst.


  • Studies of Indonesian Language and  Literature (Malaiologie), Ethnology, History of Art, University of Cologne.


  • Interim-semester. Disciplines: Archaeology, Javanese / Old Javanese Language and Literature, Universitas Gajah Mada Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


  • Study of pedagogy,  disciplines: Mathematics and History of Art, University of Cologne.


  • Recurrent stays in Java for research in situ, in affiliation to the Universities of Cologne, Sydney, Frankfurt, and as an independent scholar.

September 2014 

  • Co-founder of “Pusat Pencinta Panji” (Centre of Panji lovers) in Trawas /East Java.


  • Studies and cooperation in activities of ‘Budaya Panji’ (‘Panji Culture’) to revitalize knowledge about Panji stories in literature, temple reliefs, performance;
    including recurrent workshops, seminars, lectures, educative activities;
  • among others co-organizer of the Panji Festival in Malang/ East Java in September 2007, and presentation of a paper in the academic workshop;

Since 2009

  • Workshops and lectures at institutes and universities in Germany and Indonesia about ‘Panji Culture’ as local wisdom, and about the religious meaning of the Panji reliefs at Majapahit temples in East Java.
  • January 2023  Decolonization, restitution, provenance. Process between Indonesia and the Netherlands. Hybrid presentation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzmeIOeJQGk
  • November 2022  Webinar "Third Panji meeting" of an international group of Panji experts, presentations of research topics, such as: Panji Wargasari, Panji Margasmara, Wayang Topeng in Yogyakarta during the epidemic
  • September 2021  Webinar "Second Panji meeting" of an international group of Panji experts, organized by Wacana Journal of Indonesian Humanities; presentations of research topics, such as: Wayang Gedhog, Tari Topeng, Wayang Beber, Reliefs from Trowulan.
  • April 2020  "First Panji meeting" of the contributors of the Wacana Volumes on "Panji stories" (see list of publications 2020), organized by Wacana Journal of Indonesian Humanities.
  • since 2020  Lectures at a number of Webinars, organized in Indonesia and other countries
  • 2018  International Panji Symposium at the Indonesian National Library (supported by the Indonesian Culture Ministry), 10 and 11 July 2018, two presentations: Ancient Javanese temple reliefs depicting Panji stories, Revitalization and transformation of the Panji tradition.
  • 2018  International Panji Symposium at University Leiden, 21 September, paper: Comparative study of the Panji Jayakusuma manuscripts in Libraries in Jakarta, London, Berlin.
  • 2017  Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS) at Oxford University, 16-19 August: convenor of the panel “Panji stories and cultural patterns in Southeast Asia” [http://www.euroseas.org/content/euroseas-conference-2017-university-oxford]
  • 2016  ASEASUK conference 16-18 September at SOAS London. Presentation of paper: Wayang Jantur - revival, innovation, and transformation of a ‘marginal’  shadow play tradition in Java.
  • 2015  EurASEAA (European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists) 6-10 July at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense,  Paris. Presentation of paper: Two ancient Javanese sculptures to be reunited.
  • 2014  'Cerita Panji sebagai Warisan Budaya Dunia' (Panji stories as cultural World Heritage) in Jakarta. Paper in absentium: Simbolisme Cerita Panji dalam Relief-Relief di Candi Zaman Majapahit dan Nilainya Pada Masa Kini. [see publication list 2014] [https://opac.perpusnas.go.id/uploaded_files/dokumen_isi3/Sumber%20Elektronik/PROSIDING%20SEMINAR%20NASKAH%20KUNA%20NUSANTARA%20CERITA%20PANJI%20SEBAG_001.pdf]
  • 2013  Biennal conference of EUROSEAS (European Association of Southeast Asian Studies) in Lissabon in July. Presentation of paper: From Borobudur temple to Prince Panji. Inside perspectives on Javanese cultural heritage matters.
  • 2013  Bali Puppetry Festival and Seminar 2013, September 2013, Bali. Presentation of paper: Following Arjuna, Semar, and Panji - Early evidence of wayang in ancient Java. [see publication list 2014]
  • 2013  Keynote speaker at the Seminar and Festival The Panji/Inao Traditions in Southeast Asia, Bangkok, organized by SEAMEO (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization): Presentation of paper: Getting closer to the primordial Panji? [see publication list 2016]
  • since 2011  Guest lecturer at the biennal program of SOAS at British University London: „Diploma of Asian Art“, teaching seminars on ancient Javanese art
  • 2009  Workshop on the Old Javanese Ramayana in Jakarta, organized by the ANRC (Australian Netherlands Research Cooperation). Presentation of paper: Hanuman, the flying monkey [see publication 2011].
  • 1995  PIA (Pertemuan Ilmiah Arkeologi) in Yogyakarta/Indonesia. Presentation of paper
  • Since 1994  Biennal conferences of the EurASEAA (European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists) in: Paris, Leiden, Berlin, Sigtuna/Stockholm, London, Leiden, Berlin (2010). Presentations of papers [some of the papers being published, see publication list].

2020 until today  

  • guiding at Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum (RJM) Köln, among others with specific topics on Indonesian culture


  • Folkwang-Museum Essen: Concept and catalogue text for the exhibition of Wayang Kulit-figures


  • Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum (RJM) Köln: Translation of the Wayang Kulit inventory


  • Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum (RJM) Köln: Inventarization of the collection of ethnographic Indonesian objects


  • Cooperation in the exhibition ‘Versunkene Königreiche Indonesiens’ at Römer-and-Pelizaeus Museum Hildesheim/ Germany
  • Englisch (fluent)
  • Indonesisch (fluent)
  • Französisch (basic)
  • Niederländisch (basic)
  • Javanisch (basic)
  • Javanese gamelan, since 1996; co-founder of the Cologne gamelan group

2023 forthcoming

  • 'Sitting, sleeping, offering, storing - furniture in depictions in reliefs on ancient temples of the East Javanese period', in: Archipel. Études interdisciplinaire sur le monde insulindien. EFEO Paris: "Furniture in ancient Southeast Asian art and literature".



  • 'Pride and Legacy of Cultural Heritage. The Example of the Javanese Panji Tradition', The 2nd International Conference on Cultural Studies and Applied Linguistics (ICCSAL), "Critical Issues in Languages, Arts, and Social Sciences: Pride. Legacy, and Modernity". Universitas Negeri Surabaya (UNESA), 2 Oct 2021. Unpublished paper.
  • 'Lovers, sailors, fighters in illustrations of Javanese Panji tales manuscripts', in: Irene Schneider, Holger Warnk (eds), Knowledge, Science, and Local Tradition – Multiple Perspectives on the Middle East and South East Asia. In Honor of Fritz Schulze, pp. 187-213. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.                                                                                  


  • 'Hanuman: Prajurit Sakti dan Pencegah Penyakit', in: Buku Menolak Wabah (Suara-Suara Dari Manuskrip, Relief, Khazanah Rempah dan Ritual Nusantara). 9th Borobudur Writers Cultural Festival 2020, pp. 116-130. Yogyakarta: Ombak.
  • (Co-editor with Clara Brakel and Susi Moeimam): Wacana, Jurnal Ilmu Pengetahuan Budaya, Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia. Universitas Indonesia. Vol 21 Panji Stories (in two volumes) [https://scholarhub.ui.ac.id/wacana/vol21/iss1/
  • ‘Panji and Sekartaji on the move’, in: Wacana, Jurnal Ilmu Pengetahuan Budaya, Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia. Universitas Indonesia. Vol 21:1, pp. 69-102. [https://doi.org/10.17510/wacana.v21i1.868


  • ‘Simbolisme relief penggambaran cerita Panji - Manifestasi Tantrayana dalam candi-candi di Jawa Timur?’, in: Andrea Acri, Willem van der Molen, Noerhadi Magetsari, Tommy Christomy, dkk (eds), Tuhan & Alam (Membaca Ulang Pantheisme – Tantrayana dalam Kakawin dan Manuskrip-Manuskrip Kuno Nusantara). 8th Borobudur Writers Cultural Festival, pp. 256-283. Yogyakarta: Ombak.    


  • Menelusuri Panji dan Sekartaji – Tradisi Panji dan Proses Transformasinya pada Zaman kini. Yogyakarta: Ombak.


  • Menelusuri Panji di Candi-Candi. Jakarta: Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia. [re-print of Menelusuri Figur Bertopi dalam Relief Candi Zaman Majapahit 2014.]
    [abstract: https://opac.perpusnas.go.id/DetailOpac.aspx?id=1127463]
  • 'Catatan perjalanan di Candi Selokelir', in: Putu Sutawijaya, Kris Budiman (eds), Carita Pawitra. Jelajah candi-candi di gunung Penanggungan, pp. 53-57. Yogyakarta: Ombak.
  • ‘Getting closer to the primordial Panji? Panji stories carved in stone at ancient Javanese Majapahit temples’, paper presented at the Conference The Panji/Inao traditions in Southeast Asia, Bangkok 2-6 March 2013, Bangkok: SEAMEO-SPAFA. [http://www.spafajournal.org/index.php/spafajournal/article/view/172].


  • ‘Panji and Candrakirana lost in separation – three ancient East Javanese sculptures’, in: Amerta Jurnal Penelitian dan Pengembangan Arkeologi (Journal of archaeological research and development) Vol 34, No. 1, Juni 2016, pp. 31-48. Jakarta: Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi Nasional Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan. [https://jurnalarkeologi.kemdikbud.go.id/index.php/amerta/article/view/74]               


  • ‚Tempel in Ostjava – Wandel und Erneuerung rituellen Lebens’, in: A. Reinecke und M. Tjoa-Bonatz (Hrsg.): Archäologie im Schatten von Angkor: Fundamente der Hochkulturen Südostasiens. Sonderband Archäologie und Geschichte Südostasiens (Reihe „Zaberns Bildbände zur Archäologie”), pp. 112-121. Darmstadt: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.
  • KITA - Das Magazin der Deutsch-Indonesischen Gesellschaft, Sonderheft: Panji- Wiederbelebung eines javanischen Kulturerbes 1/2015 (edited by Lydia Kieven):
    ‘Budaya Panji – Panji-Kultur I’, KITA 1/2015: 4-15;‘Budaya Panji – Panji-Kultur II’, KITA 1/2015: 54-58.


  • ‘Simbolisme Cerita Panji dalam Relief-Relief di Candi Zaman Majapahit dan Nilainya pada Masa Kini’, Perpustakaan Nasional RI (ed.), Prosiding Seminar Naskah Kuna Nusantara “Cerita Panji Sebagai Warisan Dunia”, Jakarta, 28-29 Oktober 2014, pp.  263-280. Jakarta. [https://opac.perpusnas.go.id/uploaded_files/dokumen_isi3/Sumber%20Elektronik/PROSIDING%20SEMINAR%20NASKAH%20KUNA%20NUSANTARA%20CERITA%20PANJI%20SEBAG_001.pdf
  • Menelusuri Figur Bertopi dalam Relief Candi Zaman Majapahit. Pandangan Baru terhadap Fungsi Religius Candi-Candi Periode Jawa Timur Abad ke-14 dan ke-15. Jakarta: EFEO/ Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia. [translation of the English publication Following the cap-figure in Majapahit temple reliefs. A new look at the religious function of East Javanese temples 14th to 15th centuries.]
  • 'Panji dan Candrakirana’, in: Kris Budiman (ed.), Arca: Sepilihan Teks dan Foto tentang Seni Arca Klasik, pp. 86-89. Yogyakarta: Sangkring Art Space.
  • 'Perjalanan mengikuti Panji’, in: Ardus M Sawega (ed.), Topeng Panji. Mengajak kepada Yang Tersembunyi, pp. 160-166. Solo: Balai Soedjatmoko.
  • ‘Following Arjuna, Semar, and Panji - Early Evidence of Wayang in Ancient Java’, in:  Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof (ed.), Puppetry for All Times: Papers Presented at the Bali Puppetry Seminar 2013. Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets, pp. 57-64. Singapore: Partridge Publishing.


  • Following the cap-figure in Majapahit temple reliefs. A new look at the religious function of East Javanese temples 14th to 15th centuries. Leiden: Brill Publisher.
    [Open access: http://www.brill.com/following-cap-figure-majapahit-temple-reliefs] 'Mengenal Suryo 20 Tahun', in: Eka Budianta (ed.), Suryo Kinasih, pp. 70-81. Jakarta: Eugenia.


  • ‘Hanuman, the flying monkey—the symbolism of the Ramayana reliefs at the Main Temple of Candi Panataran’, in: Andrea Acri, Helen Creese, Arlo Griffiths (eds.), From Lankā Eastwards. The Rāmāyana in the Literature and Visual Arts of Indonesia, pp. 209-232. Leiden: KITLV Press.


  • ‘Schatten der Mythen – Javanische Spielfiguren’, in: Museum Folkwang Essen (ed.), “Das schönste Museum der Welt”, Museum Folkwang bis 1933. Ausstellungskatalog, pp. 325-326. Göttingen: Edition Folkwang/Steidl.


  • ‘Panji di Candi Panataran’, Kidung (Majalah Seni dan Budaya) 16: 14-15.
  • ‘Perkelanaan Lydia Kieven’, in: Henri Nurcahyo (ed.), Konservasi Budaya Panji, pp. 25-32. Surabaya: Dewan Kesenian Jawa Timur.
  • ‘Panji di Gunung Penanggungan’, in: ibidem, pp. 123-128.


  • ‘The symbolism of water in ancient East Javanese art’, TAASA Review [The Journal of the Asian Arts Society of Australia], Vol. 17, no 3: pp. 9-11.
  •  ‘A new fashion in male headgear during East Javanese Majapahit time – the tekes-cap in narrative reliefs of Candi Jago’, in: E.A. Bacus, I.C. Glover and P.D. Sharrock (eds.), Interpreting Southeast Asia’s Past: Monument, Image and Text (proceedings from the EurASEAA10 conference Vol II), pp. 193-207, Singapore: National University of Singapore Press.


  • ‘Sound and movement in stone – music and dance in ancient Javanese art’, in: A. Lüderwaldt (ed.), Contemporary Gamelan Music. 3. Internationales Gamelan Musik Festival Bremen 2006, [Jahrbuch XIV Überseemuseum Bremen], pp. 9-22, Bremen: Überseemuseum Bremen.


  • ‘Loving Couples Depicted in Temple Reliefs in East Java of the Majapahit Time’, in: A. Karlström & A. Källén (eds.), Fishbones and Glittering Emblems. Southeast Asia Archaeology 2002, 335-348. Stockholm: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities.
  •  ‘The Architecture and Art of Ancient East Java’, in: Ann R. Kinney, Worshiping Siva and Buddha – The Temple Art of East Java, pp. 29-41, Honolulu: Hawaii University Press. [and scholarly text editing]


  • ‘Arjuna, Bhima and Panji: three heros at Candi Kendalisodo’, in: M. Klokke (ed.), Narrative sculpture and literary traditions in South and South East Asia, pp. 42-50. Leiden – Köln: Brill.


  • ‘The meditation of Arjuna’, in: Pierre-Yves Manguin (ed.), Southeast Asian Archaeology 1994  (Paris 24th-28th October 1994), pp. 161-169. Hull: Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, Hull University.


  • Polyglott-Reiseführer Java. München (Co-Autor C. Vogt).
  • “Der altjavanische Meditationsplatz Candi Kendalisada am Berg Penanggungan in Ostjava”, in: K. Lutter und P. Ziegenhain (Hrsg.), Vom altjavanischen Tempel zum Internet, pp. 12-26. Köln.


  • “Ostjavanische Tempelreliefs und ihre Ikonographie”, in: A. und E. Eggebrecht (eds.), Versunkene Königreiche Indonesiens, pp. 249-256. Hildesheim: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.


  • Arjunas Askese. Ihre Darstellung im altjavanischen Arjunawiwaha und auf ausgewählten ostjavanischen Reliefs. Bonn: Holos. [Publication of M.A. thesis]
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