Loro Blonyo in Javanese literally means ‘two become one.’ The statue is a symbol of the God and Goddess of fertility in Javanese culture: Dewi (Goddess) Sri and God Sadono.
The couple is worshipped in Javanese rural community especially by the farmer because Dewi Sri is believed to be the god who gives a good crop.
In Hindu Javanese aristocracy, there’s a tradition to spare a room in a traditional house of a royal family for worshiping Dewi Sri, called pasren or petanen that stands for the words 'pa-sri-an' and 'pa-tani-an' which means the place of Dewi Sri and the storage of the agricultural products.
The room must be equipped with certain furniture and ornaments arranged in certain order. There must be a set of wooden bed fully ornamented that is located in the centre of the room. And on the bed foot side a couple of Javanese bridegroom Loro Blonyo is positioned along with a set of jars, a set of rice paddy and crops containers, and a robyong lamp (oil lamp) with flame.
For Javanese, this requirement needs a special budget therefore only rich farmers can keep Loro Blonyo statues in their house. The richer the farmer; the grand the statue, the ornaments, and the furniture in the room be. Eventually, the statue becomes a kind of wealth symbol of the owner.
By having the statue in the house, the farmers believe it will bring them good luck in farming. Crops are stored overnight in pasren before taken to a ceremony on the next day. They also believe Dewi Sri will bless them with many offspring. In a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom meeting was held in front of a pasren so that Dewi Sri blesses their life and make their life like Dewi Ratih and Dewa Kamajaya – the Gods of Love.
Dewi Sri and God Sadono statues in traditional custom are represented by a man and a woman dressed in traditional Javanese wedding outfit, with traditional hairdo and accessories. They stand or sit in a formal manner, or sit on traditional Javanese wooden chairs.
Modern Loro Blonyo Statues
These days not many Javanese farmers follow the sacred philosophy of Loro Blonyo. The penetration of Islamic culture as well as other religions such as Christianity had lead to the extinction of the tradition. Many families still have the statues but are treated as merely decoration of the house. The statues have no longer its sacred room. They are placed in the living room, or any other room, along with any other decorations in the house. Nowadays, the couple is popular among local and international tourists as memento from Indonesia.
Of the reason, the appearance of modern Loro Blonyo has greatly changed. The couple does not stand or sit in a formal manner only but also in other cheerful and arty poses. Their outfit, although still maintains its traditional style, has modern touch. Some statues even have a completely modern hairdo and accessories. The traditional style is still in existence and sometimes the traditional and modern styles are displayed in a souvenir or art shop side by side.
Excerpt of The Story of Loro Blonyo