“This is an annotated transcription and translation of the Syair Tabut (Poem of the Tomb Effigies) of Encik Ali, a Malay-language, Jawi-script syair account of the Muharram commemorations of 1864 at Singapore. The only known part lithograph and part manuscript of this text, on which this edition is based, is held in the library of Leiden University, shelfmark Kl. 191. For a full discussion of this Syair, see the accompanying article by Lunn and Byl (2017).”
The Syair is a riveting account of Muharram commemorations in #Singapore in 1864 – the last year Muharram processions were permitted before the colonial authorities banned them. For an image of Muharram in late colonial Singapore, here's a glimpse: Schlitter, 1858. pic.twitter.com/vt9x5b0xui
.@juliasbyl and I also published a (rather long) analysis of the Syair, looking into the court cases that emerged from the "Muharram riots" that year, the music, and the many rich details in the poem – that article also seems to be open access! https://t.co/PIxcAtY0nb
The Syair itself is a #Jawi-script scroll that lay unexamined in @ubleiden for over 150 years – here's a sense of the beautiful lithographed opening, and the messy, manuscript end: pic.twitter.com/lE33YSeAA1
Anyway, open access, for who knows how long: I hope people will enjoy at least the Syair, and for a sense of some of the most colourful aspects, check out the Muharram Scroll, from c. 1840s Madras Presidency, now in the collections of @acm_sgpic.twitter.com/ua8rfOBkld
And (finally? maybe) it was the wonderful @michaeltalbotuk who directed me to the map collections of the @UkNatArchives – who knew (apart from real historians) that such gems existed? The snippet below was crucial in reconstructing 19thC Singapore geography. pic.twitter.com/YANiWA4vUJ
Maria Ullfah was the daughter of Kuningan regent R.A.A. Mohammad Achmad. Maria entered the Faculty of Law at the University of Leiden in 1929 and graduated in 1933.
A friend from the same faculty and boarding house, Siti Soendari (left), who was also the sister of Dr. Soetomo, followed by taking a Bachelor of Laws the following year. On her return to the Dutch East Indies, Maria Ullfah worked in the office of the Cirebon regency government, however, this was only to last several months because she chose to study German and government at the Muhammadiyah school in Batavia. It was probably here that Maria Ullfah’s involvement in the nationalist movement began.
The causes which Maria championed included a fair marriage law, which she proposed at the Third Women’s Congress. Maria then became the head of the Agency for the Protection of Indonesian Women in Marriage. Her goal was a marriage law which was based on the principle of equity of rights and responsibilities between men and women.
22 December was declared Women’s Day at the Third Women’s Congress which was held in Bandung from 23 to 27 July 1938. Women’s Day in 1953 was a gala celebration as it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first Women’s Congress. However, as a national day Women’s Day was not made a public holiday until 1959 with the release of Presidential Decree No. 316/1959.
Some of Maria Ullfah’s other important roles included the inclusion of human rights articles in the 1945 Constitution as it was being drafted by the Body Investigating Steps for Preparedness for Indonesian Independence (BPUPKI). Maria was one of its members. It was Maria who strongly protested when the early draft made no mention of human rights. Drs. Mohammad Hatta played the same role.
After independence, Maria Ullfah became Minister of Social Affairs in the Second Sjahrir Cabinet in 1946. It was under her stewardship that the Office of Workers’ Affairs was born which was the forerunner of today’s Ministry of Labor (@KemnakerRI). She was part of the fight for workers’ rights through her drafting of the social affairs law which aimed to improve the conditions of workers. This draft became law in 1948.
So it was that after this long record of nationalist struggle in 1959 Maria Ullfah proposed that Women’s Day on 22 December be made a national day. At the time Maria was Director of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet office during the administration of Prime Minister Juanda.
Her dream was simple, that women would always be aware of their responsibilities as mothers of the nation.
On 26 September 1918, Father Jonckbloet hopes to commemorate the day that marks 50 years in the Order of Jesus Christ. The grey priest who celebrated his 70th birthday on 28 August, spent 20 years of his working life in India. He will undoubtedly count many friends among our readers and we, therefore, consider it a privilege that on the occasion of his jubilee we are delighted to express our congratulations.
Godefridus Daniel Augustinus Jonckbloet was born on the 28 August 1848 in Eindhoven. After attending high school at Sittard at the high school, on 26 September 1868, he joined the Order of the Jesuits at Mariëndaal at Grave (North Brabant). He studied philosophy at Laval in France and theology in Maastricht, and was dedicated to the priesthood in this city on 8 September 1881, and subsequently studied at Sittard. In 1886, the young scholar contracted a lung disease which required him to stay for a year in Davos. Thanks to regular outdoor treatment, he recovered from the dangerous disease and in memory of this wonderful healing at this blessed place Davos he gives thanks till the present. After a few years in Maastricht where he was busy with literary studies, Father Jonckbloet left for India, where he set foot at Batavia on 6 November 1890. In turn, he stayed at Semarang, Weltevreden [Jakarta], Buitenzorg [Bogor], Magelang and Surabaya and finally became a priest in Malang in June 1897. He soon came to love the country. His major interest was mainly the monuments of Old Java, which is the reason he visited the Borobudur, Méndoet – and Prambanan – temples numerous times and traveled from Surabaya to Bali and Lombok. He once dreamed of writing not an archaeological dissertation about Borobudur but rather an epic poem. Unfortunately, the outline of this great poem has gone and sadly the poet has turned away from the idea.
It is to Malang, however, that Father Jonckbloet has devoted his greatest energy in the service of his priestly labors. A beautiful church, a parsonage and a guesthouse for the Ursuline sisters, all built by Father Jonckbloet, bear witnesses to the work of the beloved cleric and stand as a demonstration of the great love that the priest had for the town and its parishes. Over the years, Father Jonckbloet has acquired countless friends in India, both among the Europeans and the Javanese. Great goodness and human love, gentleness and a spirit of sacrifice are the fundamentals of Jonckbloedt’s character which mark the priest a true Christian.
 Add to that a very congenial manner in his dealings with others, and it does not surprise us, that Father Jonckbloet has many friends and admirers in both India as well as the Netherlands.
No wonder, too, that many friends have joined together to honor the man who has done so much for his church and his society. The intention is to establish a fund called the “Jonckbloet Fund”, which will provide training in the Netherlands for Catholic Indonesians, for different positions and relations in general, but for the priesthood in particular. Contributions for this fund will be received at any time by Dr. J. G. C. Vriens, Secretary of the Committee, Paulstraat 1, Nijmegen.
Apart from sanctifying his friends, Father Jonckbloet is mostly known as a man of letters. From his youth, literature has been his favorite study which he has demonstrated by his numerous works, among which we mention the likes of Isaiah which is an interpretation in Dutch verse of the entire book of Isaiah’s prophecies, a work carried out in the face of numerous pressures. Besides this, he also produced smaller works of a purely religious character.
Even in India, the learned Father has always combined the literary life with the life of the clergy. In India, he wrote two fine collections of literary critiques Uit Nederland en Insulinde, his study of Multatuli and his collection of poetry Lief en Leed. His extraordinary productivity is evidenced by his many articles in journals like “De Java-Post” [The Java Post], “Het Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad” [The Batavia News] and “Studiën” [Studies].
Due to throat cancer, Father Jonckbloet left India on 18 June 1908 arriving on 9 September 1909 in The Hague where he settled in the parsonage Da Costastraat to the present. Although the Indian years and serious ailments aged him, the friendly grey man is still the epitome of a young and enthusiastic mind. His pen still moves with a youthful fire. After 1909, several monographs including Lady Anna de Savornin Lohman, In Memoriam: Eugène van Oppen and very recently a collection of poetry Refloruit Cor Meum [Blossomed Heart]. Still appearing in “Studiën” and other periodicals are articles by his hand which abound in fresh enthusiasm.
It was true that attempts were made by the Catholic side to collect a compilation of all Father Jonckbloet’s works which are spread far and wide in many collections. This would be an asset for the literature of the Catholic world. A very interesting book would also be the same, but the literary work of Father Jonckbloet coincided with the great reversal here of these lands of the 1880s and the following years. It is remarkable to see how one educated in the ideas of the early 1880s slowly begins to turn in his old age to so beat that he sometimes lauds the most modern poets with a sound as loud and possibly even louder than the exuberance exuded by their own sympathizers. An example of this could extend to the six very detailed and elaborate articles which he published in “Studiën” two years ago on the socialist poet Henriette Roland Holst.
Finally, I allow myself to say a personal word of thanks for the attention and the wide-ranging testimonial in “Studiën” which the grey priest wished to dedicate to my own work. Thank you also for the friendship he has shown me. How beloved must be this true Christian, this noble man and this loyal friend by his own fellow believers!
For many years now, countless friends and worshipers have been allowed to press his trembling hands, behold his venerable face and hear his always friendly voice, made hoarse by a previous throat operation.
On 13 November 1918, Raden Mas Hario Soerjo Soebandrio, the younger brother of Z.H. Prince Mangkoe Negoro VII, passed away at the Hague at the age of 29 years, a victim of the current influenza epidemic.
On 15 November the funeral took place in a rather Javanese ceremonial manner, with the Committee of the Indian Association (Perhimpunan Orang India) acting as master of ceremonies. The funeral procession attracted the attention of those present because of the particular decoration of the coffin which was painted ivory. The middle part of this was covered with a white sheet on which were hung traditional Javanese flower arrangements. In addition, many wreaths of flowers filled the carriage, including those of Mrs. van Deventer, Mr. Abendanon, the Indian Association, Minahassans and Sumatrans, Solonese princes and many friends and countrymen. Five carriages of the closest friends who had already gathered at the house of the deceased at Fahrenheitstraat had already left in advance.
At the Old Oak and Dunes Cemetery, a number of Indonesians and interested people waited who wanted to pay their last respects to the deceased. After that his countrymen, all wearing white mourning armbands, carried the coffin from the funeral wagon, preceded by the wife of Mangoenkoesoemo, Noto Soeroto and Surya Ningrat, carrying respectively a bowl of flowers, a vessel for incense and the Quran, the coffin was placed in the van Deventer family crypt.
After the usual spreading of flowers and the reading of texts from the Quran by one of his Islamic compatriots, a brief eulogy was given by the chairman of the Indian Association, Dr. Goenawan Mangoenkoesoemo, who described the deceased as a quiet and serious man who was driven only by the desire for greater knowledge of Europe. Everyone who knew him, knew how friendly Soerjo Soebandrio was, how extremely kind and gentle he always was. The speaker described how not only here at the grave side, but also on his deathbed, his countrymen had surrounded him and that this could be seen by Soerjo Soebandrio himself with his own eyes. And now the beloved is not on strange soilin the family tomb of Mrs. van Deventer.
A few words were then said by J. Oudemans representing the Minister of Colonies, Dr Tumbelaka, on behalf of the Minahassans, Mr. Dahlan Abdoellah spoke on behalf of the Sumatrans in Malay, Mr. Soenario in Javanese, Mr. J. H. Abendanon and Mr. W. J. Giel. Soerjo Soebandrio’s teacher Mr. Herman Middendorp also spoke in moving terms about how the relationship between teacher and student had quickly become a relationship of two friends. Then how he had grown to know what Soebandrio was like: so good, so clever, so sincere and so straightforward, but that it had been in this simplicity that the depth of his soul was revealed.
By Dick van der Meij, independent scholar – Indonesian Manuscripts from the Islands of Java, Madura, Bali and Lombok discusses aspects of the long and impressive manuscript traditions of these islands, which share many aspects of manuscript production. Many hitherto unaddressed features of palm-leaf manuscripts are discussed here for the first time as well as elements of poetic texts, indications of mistakes, colophons and the calendrical information used in these manuscripts. All features discussed are explained with photographs. The introductory chapters offer insights into these traditions in a wider setting and the way researchers have studied them. This original and pioneering work also points out what topics needs further exploration to understand these manuscript traditions that use a variety of materials, languages, and scripts to a wider public.
Dick van der Meij (Ph.D. Leiden 2002) has published editions and translations of Balinese, Malay, and Javanese texts and articles on Indonesian literature and manuscripts. His latest work is an edition and translation (with N. Lambooij) of the Malay Hikayat Mi’raj Nabi Muḥammad (Brill, 2014).
All interested in the manuscript traditions of Indonesia, Southeast Asia and manuscripts in the world in general, including students, academics, curators and librarians.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Notes to the Reader
The Present Book
Manuscripts in Arabic
Multiple Languages and Scripts in Manuscripts
The Chapters in the Book
Topics not Discussed in the Book
Manuscripts as Physical Objects
Complete and Incomplete Manuscripts
Intact, Damaged and Repaired Manuscripts
Old and New Manuscripts
Illustrated and Illuminated Manuscripts
Naturalistic Figure Depiction
The Natural World in Javanese Illustrations
Large and Small Manuscripts
Manuscript Quality, Beautiful and Ugly Manuscripts
Numbers of Manuscripts, Popularity of Texts
Fragments of Other Texts in Manuscripts
2 Access to Manuscripts
Public Collections of Indonesian Manuscripts
Microfilms and Digital Manuscripts
Blogs, Portals, Social Media and Digital Search Machines
3 Lontar and Gěbang (Nipah) Manuscripts
The Writing Process
Numbering in Lontar Manuscripts
Text in Lontar
Gĕbang (Nipah) Manuscripts
4 Verse, Verse Meters and Their Indications
Page Lay-Out of Texts in Tĕmbang Macapat
5 Mistakes and Corrections in Manuscripts
Writers’ Own Indications of Mistakes
Levels of Mistakes
Indications of Mistakes and Corrections
Mistakes Indicated and Corrected During Writing or Afterwards
Corrections and Additional Notes and Editions of Texts
6 Dating and Calendars
The Javanese Calendar
Manuscripts Copied with the Original Colophon
Colophons in Javanese Texts from Java
Colophons in Old and Middle Javanese Texts
Colophons Added to Colophons
Personal and General Information in Balinese Colophons
Changes in Colophons Over Time
Colophons in Balinese Manuscripts in Balinese
Colophons in Sasak and Javanese Manuscripts from Lombok
Colophon as Part of the Text or Not?
Excuses for Mistakes and Poor Workmanship
8 Other Information on Dating and Ownership
Manuscript Gifts to Scholars
Ownership Information on Separate Pages Preceding or after the Text
Personal Information on the Fore-Edge of the Book Block
Library and Ownership Stamps
Other Indications of Ownership
Hidden Names of Authors and the Places where They Live
Name Hidden in Illuminations
Appendix 1 Candra Sangkala in Manuscripts
Appendix 2 Alternative Names for Macapat Meters
Appendix 3 Pada Marks in Javanese, Sundanese and Madurese Manuscripts
Appendix 4 Sasmita Salinining Tĕmbang from Java, Lombok, Bali and Sunda
Appendix 5 Sasmita Wiwitaning Tĕmbang in Javanese Texts from Java
Appendix 6 Verse Schemes of the Most Encountered Verse Meters in Bali According to I Gusti Putu Jlantik
Appendix 7 Kakawin Verse MetersAppendix 8 Table to Calibrate the Javanese and Arabic Years to the Gregorian Calendar According to Djidwal 1932