On 20 March 2018 Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta, visited the British Library to launch the Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta Digitisation Project. Through the generous support of Mr S P Lohia, over the next twelve months 75 Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta now held in the British Library will be digitised, and will be made fully and freely accessible online through the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts website. On completion of the project in March 2019, complete sets of the 30,000 digital images will be presented to the Libraries and Archives Board of Yogyakarta (Badan Perpustakaan dan Arsip Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta) and to the National Library (Perpustakaan Nasional) of Indonesia in Jakarta. The manuscripts will also be accessible through Mr Lohia’s website, SPLRareBooks.
(Read more here.)
For the past century, studies of the languages, literatures, history, culture and writing traditions of the Malay world of maritime Southeast Asia – comprising present-day Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and the southern parts of Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines – have been fundamentally shaped by the collections of manuscripts held in European institutions, primarily those in the UK and the Netherlands, and those formed under colonial auspices, such as the National Library of Indonesia. These collections themselves reflect the interests of their collectors, who were mainly European scholars and government officials from the early 19th century onwards, whose interests were focused on literary, historical and legal compositions in vernacular languages such as Malay and Javanese. Relatively little attention was paid to works on Islam written in Arabic, or in Malay and Arabic, and hence such manuscripts are very poorly represented in institutions such as the British Library.
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
Patani is a culturally Malay-Muslim region located on the northeast coast of the Malay peninsula, in the southern part of Thailand. It has long been renowned as a cradle of Malay art and culture, and especially as a centre for Islamic learning, with close links with the Holy Cities of Arabia. Patani has produced many notable Islamic scholars, the most prominent being Daud bin Abdullah al-Patani (1769-1847), who lived and wrote in Mecca in the first half of the 19th century. scholars, and Wan Ahmad al-Patani (1856-1908), the first Superintendent of the Malay press in Mecca. Patani is one of the great centres of the Malay manuscript tradition, and many manuscripts from Patani are now held in the National Library of Malaysia and the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.
Map of the province of Pattani (Bangkok: Royal Survey Department, 1907). British Library, Maps 60120. (2.)
From the 14th century onwards, throughout Southeast Asia the Malay language was written in an extended version of the Arabic script known as Jawi. However, during the course of the 20th century the use of Jawi declined rapidly, and today in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei the Malay/Indonesian language is normally written in roman script. Perhaps because of Patani’s location within Thailand, and a system of state education not rooted in roman script, competency in Jawi appears to have lasted longer in Patani than perhaps anywhere else in Southeast Asia. This means that uniquely in Patani, Malay manuscripts written in Jawi have been produced until recently, including, for example, some elaborately decorated hand-written copies of the text Sejarah Kerajaan Negeri Patani, ‘History of the Malay Kingdom of Patani’, by Ibrahim Syukri, which was first published in 1958 and contains references to post-war events.
Ingeniously decorated late 20th-century manuscript of Sejarah Kerajaan Negeri Patani, showing the start of the second chapter, Pembanganunan negeri Patani dan raja2, ‘The development of Patani and the descent of its rulers’. PNM MSS 3632, reproduced courtesy of the National Library of Malaysia…
Source: British ‘Islamic’ style seals from the Malay world – Asian and African studies blog
The presence of an inscription in Arabic script is such a defining characteristic of seals used by Muslims that it tends to mask the fact that similar ‘Islamic’-style seals were also used by myriad other groups, including Christians in Ethiopia and Syria, Samaritans in Palestine, Hindu subjects of the Mughal emperor, European scholars of Arabic and Persian, and British officials of the East India Company. Examples from the British Library were featured in a recent blog post on Some British ‘Islamic’ style seals in Persian manuscripts from India by Ursula Sims-Williams, and in an earlier post on Performing Authority: the ‘Islamic’ seals of British colonial officers in the Persian Gulf by Daniel Lowe. In this post I have gathered together a small number of British ‘Islamic’-style seals from Southeast Asia, with inscriptions in Malay in Jawi (Arabic) script. (Read more..)
Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator, Southeast Asia http://blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2017/03/british-islamic-style-seals-from-the-malay-world.html
“The Batak peoples of north Sumatra are associated with a distinctive writing culture, with manuscripts written on a range of organic materials, primarily tree bark, bamboo and bone. Most characteristic are the bark books known as pustaha, written on strips of bark of the alim (Aquilaria malaccensis) tree, which is folded concertina-fashion, and sometime furnished with wooden covers, which can be beautifully decorated.” (Read more.)
“Probably composed in the late 16th century, Hikayat Inderaputera was one of the most widespread and popular Malay tales, and is known from over thirty manuscripts dating from the late 17th century onwards. The story is found from Sumatra to Cambodia and the Philippines, not only in Malay but also in Acehnese, Bugis, Makasarese, Sasak, Cham, Maranao and Maguindanao versions (Braginsky 2009). At its core is probably a Persian mathnawi based, in turn, on the Hindi poem Madhumalati written around 1550 (Braginsky 2004: 388), but it also drew on Malay Islamic epics such as Hikayat Amir Hamzah and Javanese Panji stories.” Read more.
Opening pages of the Hikayat Inderaputera, with the double decorated frames digitally reunited (as the MS is currently misbound). British Library, MSS Malay B.14, ff. 1v-2r.
“The Hikayat Bayan Budiman, ‘Tale of the Wise Parrot’, is an old work of Malay literature, probably composed in the 15th century or earlier. It is based on a Persian original, the Tuti-nama, and is the earliest example in Malay of a framed narrative: a literary work comprising a compilation of individual stories. And like the…” (read more)
Source: The British Library’s Asian and African studies blog: The Malay Tale of the Wise Parrot
“The ‘Archive of Yogyakarta’ refers to a collection of some four hundred manuscript documents in Javanese dating from 1772 to 1813, originating from the court of Yogyakarta. A highly important source for the political, economic, social, administrative and legal history of central Java in the late eighteeth…” (Read more)
- Malay Concordance Project
The project aims to help scholars share resources for the study of classical Malay literature. In the last year it has been consulted by scholars from more than 30 countries world-wide, who made over 20,000 searches.
Its main feature is a growing corpus of classical Malay texts, now comprising 165 texts and 5.8 million words, including 140,000 verses. These texts can be searched on-line to provide useful information about:
• contxts in which words are used,
• where particular terms or names occur in texts,
• patterns of morphology and syntax.
For advice on how to structure various kinds of searches, click on searching in the top banner.
For a list of the texts currently available for searching, click on texts in the top banner.
“Among the Malay manuscripts in the British Library which have just been digitised are a number of vocabulary lists and dictionaries in Malay, compiled by visitors to the region as aids to learning the language. The study of Malay in Europe dates back to the …” (read more)
Source: The British Library’s Asia and Africa Blog Early vocabularies of Malay