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Lembuswana statue

Lembuswana Statue

Lembuswana is a legendary creature appearing in Kutai mythology of Indonesia. It is described as being a lion-headed horse with an adorning crown, having an elephant-like trunk, a pair of Garuda wings, and fish-like scales.


In legend of this creature is the guardian of the Mahakam River, and the vehicle of Mulawarman - king of the Kutai kingdom approximately 1500 years ago. It is also the vehicle of princess Karang Melenu, the princess later married with Aji Batara Agung Dewa Sakti and from the marriage later generation of Kutai king will be born.


This creature is a symbol of Kutai Kartanegara city, its head and body symbolizing power and bravery of the king, and its trunk symbolizing Ganesha - the god of intelligence. Because it has "Lembu" (which mean bull in Indonesian) in its name, the creature is said to symbolize Nandi, the bull that carried Shiva from Hindu mythology.

The shining golden statue depicted in the images is a main icon of Mulawarman Museum, Kutai. The statue was created by Burmese artist in mid 19th century, and placed in the museum in early 20th century. Another statue can be found in Kumala Island, a delta on the center of Mahakam River.

Although Kutai kingdom - the oldest kingdom in Indonesia ceased to be exist, the legend survived in later Kutai Martadipura sultanate, and continuing in modern day Kutai Kartanegara city. It is just a mere legend but the meaning of the story still exist within heart of Kutai citizen, this creature symbolizing the power and nobility of "king" and should protect its citizen from harm and creating a prosperous city.