Dated as 835 AD. Buddhist.
Location: dukuh Plaosan, desa Bugisan kec. Prambanan 1.5kms East of Candi Sewu. Best reached by turning off the Yogya-Klaten road in the Northerly direction at the Prambanan intersection. Drive past Candi Loro Jonggrang, Candi Lumbung, Candi Bubrah and turn right [East] just after passing Candi Sewu. Candi Plaosan then comes into view.
Description of architecture
The complex has a north (lor) and a south (kidul) area. The lor yard (to the left as one comes from Prambanan) has two rebuilt two storey buildings, each surrounded by walls. Around the walls is one row of miniature temples containing statues. The East row, bounding on the back of the two main buildings had 19 such temples, the West row 17, leaving space for the entrace gates to the buildings, and north and south are 7 temples each. additionally, there is a temple on every corner. Two rows of pedestals surround the temples. These too are marked by small temples in the corner. IJzerman surmises that the pedestals would have supported ceramic urns with the remains of monks or priests. This by analogy to the Kanheri complex in India. Other observers have identified the smaller constructions as gifts of officials.
North of the building and still within the north yard are the remains of a square terrace, that was likely used to place offerings. The terrace is again surrounded by pedestals. When IJzerman visited this site in 1885 he still found 22 Dhyani buddha statues. A similar but smaller square terrace is found in the south terrace.
The orientation of the complex to the West identifies it as an Amidist sanctuary.
Sixty short inscriptions were found during the excavations. These are in stone, and use pre-nagari script to write Sanskrit. The inscriptions have information about the founding of the buildings and also make mention of the ruling king, Rakai Pikatan. One of the names mentioned is Bhujayottunggadewa which is believed to be a title of one of the Sailendra rulers. The name has not been found elsewhere. There are inscriptions at the base of the Perwara temples, starting with the words anumoda, darma, gawai and astapa followed by the name of an official. Some names mentioned are known from elsewhere such as Sri Maharaja Rakai Pikatan, Rakai Gurunwangi Dyah Saladu, Sri Kahulunan and Sang Sirikan pu suryya. Pikatan's name is mentioned in the prasasti Mantyasih of 907 AD and prasasti Wanua Tengah 111 by King Balitung. In prasasti Wanua Tengah 111 Rakai Pikatan (r.847-855) is mentioned by his own name ie. Dyah Saladu. The name Dyah Saladu has been found in a short inscription at Plaosan but there titled Rakai Gurunwangi, not Rakai Pikatan. According to prasasti Wanue Tengah III the ruling king preceding Rakai Pikatan was Rakai Garung (828-847M) and one of the officials was Sirikan pu suryya. This name is found in two perwara temples. Hence it is possible the Plaosan was erected in the reign of Rakai Garung. However, de Casparis holds that Rakai Pikatan of the Sanjaya dynasty founded the temple with his princess Pramodhawardhani.
Description of reliefs & statues
Each of the two main buildings in the north yard have three chambers that would have contained three statues each. The entrance way held two statues. The statues in the two buildings were identical. When the complex was first discovered, the central statues in any of the six cella had disappeared. These were likely free standing bronze buddha statues that could be taken out of the temple for processions on auspicious days. The flanking statues in the cella were carved out of stone. They represented Boddhisatwa. Krom (1923) identified them as:
The rows of 50 temples surrounding the principal buildings used to contain statues of the Dhyani buddhas for the appropriate orientation: Amithabha for those facing West, Ratnasambhawa for those facing South, Akshobya for those facing East and Amoghasiddha for those facing North.
Rediscovery & restoration
Following its disuse, the first mention of the temple is western sources is by Muennich in 1845. The temples was described by Brummond prior to its partial destruction in the 1867 earthquake. IJzerman published an extensive description in his <Description of Antiquities in the Vicinity of Soerakarta and Djogjakarta> of 1901. Krom (1923) identified the main statues.
The first digs were undertaken in 1940 as part of research on stupa on Java. First small scale reconstructions carried out under Ir. Samingoen in 1941 - a mini temple in the lor (North) and kidul (South) yard each, and a stupa in the lor yard. The two archways were rebuilt in 1945 and 48. Later, loose stones of the mini temples were collected and sorted as practice by those who were to work on the Borobudur restoration. A second restoration was started in 1993/4.