THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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4 posts categorized "Bugis"

16 June 2017

Malay and Indonesian manuscripts exhibited in 1960

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Until 1972 the British Library formed part of the British Museum. Its exhibition cases were located in the great King’s Library wing, built in 1827 to house the royal collection of over 60,000 books formed by King George III (1760–1820) and given to the nation in 1823 by his son King George IV. From July to August 1960, the King’s Library hosted ‘Books from the East: an exhibition of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books’ which aimed ‘to show something of the richness and variety of oriental literature’ through ‘books and manuscripts which stand out from the rest on account of their beauty, rarity, early date or unusual form’.

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Interior of the King's Library, British Museum, by Frederick Hawkesworth S. Shepherd (1877–1948). The display cases visible continued to be used for books and manuscripts until the 1990s, when the British Library moved to St. Pancras.

One of the 22 cases in the exhibition 'Books from the East' was dedicated to eight Malay and Indonesian manuscripts, described below in the exhibition leaflet:

“In the centre are two Malay manuscripts: a Proclamation of 1811 by Sir Stamford Raffles written in the Malayan Arabic script, called Jawi, which is slowly being replaced by the modern romanised script; and the other – a seventeenth century translation of the Psalms of David – is in an early romanised script used by Dutch missionaries in the Netherlands East Indies. (Or.9484; Sloane 3115.) Two Javanese illuminated manuscripts are shown – A History of Kingdom of Mataram in East Java, which reached the peak of its power in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries (Add.12,287); and a Pawukon or Treatise on Judicial Astrology with coloured figure drawings illustrating the text (Add.12,338). The very large Buginese book is an example of the interesting Court Diaries that were kept by the Bugis in the Celebes from at least the seventeenth century. (Add.12,354.) Two Batak bark books with wooden covers, from Sumatra, are also shown (Add.19381 and Or.11761) together with a wooden tubular section cut from a length of large bamboo, and inscribed with the Batak alphabet (Or.5309). Both of the books are manuals of divination and magic.”

This display from 1960 has been reassembled here in photographic form below, with hyperlinks to digitised versions and relevant blog posts.

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Proclamation of the capture of Batavia by the British, 11 August 1811, in Malay in Jawi script. British Library, Or 9484

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Psalms of David in Malay, late 17th century, probably written in the Moluccas. British Library, Sloane 3115, ff. 10v-11r

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Babad Sejarah Mataram, Javanese history of the kingdom of Mataram from Adam to the fall of Kartasura; this copy early 19th c. British Library, Add 12287, ff. 3v-4r

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Pawukon, Javanese calendrical compilation with illustrations of the gods and goddesses associated with each week (wuku), 1807. British Library, Add 12338, ff. 92v-93r

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Bugis diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin of Bone (r.1775-1812). British Library, Add 12354, ff. 17v-18r

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Pustaha in Mandailing-Batak from north Sumatra, containing esoteric texts on divination and protection, showing on the right pictures of a labyrinth and the seal of Solomon, early 19th c. British Library, Add. 19381

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Bamboo cylinder with Batak syllabary, 19th c. British Library, Or. 5309

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Pustaha in Simalungun-Batak, with nicely decorated wooden covers, a plaited bamboo strap, and carrying string. British Library, Or. 11761  noc

In subsequent years the King's Library witnessed more exhibitions of maritime Southeast Asian material, including Early Malay Printing 1603-1900, held from 20 January to 4 June 1989, and Paper and Gold: illuminated manuscripts from the Indonesian archipelago, held from 11 July to 27 October 1990. But 'Books from the East' appears to have been the first occasion on which Malay and Indonesian manuscripts were included in a thematic temporary exhibition in the British Museum.

Further reading:

M.C.Ricklefs, P.Voorhoeve and Annabel Teh Gallop, Indonesian manuscripts in Great Britain: a catalogue of manuscripts in Indonesian languages in British public collections. New Edition with Addenda et Corrigenda. Jakarta: Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient, Perpustakaan Nasional Republik Indonesia, Yayasan Pustaka Obor Indonesia, 2014. 

Golden Letters: writing traditions of Indonesia / Surat Emas: budaya tulis di Indonesia. Annabel Teh Gallop with Bernard Arps.  London: British Library; Jakarta: Yayasan Lontar, 1991

Download 1989-Early Malay Printing

Download 1990-Paper and Gold

Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator, Southeast Asia  ccownwork

04 March 2016

The seals of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih of Bone

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Last year the British Library digitised the personal diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Shamsuddin, 22nd sultan of the kingdom of Bone in south Sulawesi, who reigned from 1775 until his death in July 1812. The diary (Add. 12354), written in the king’s own hand in Bugis language and script, is an extremely important historical source for Bone. Daily entries cover a wide range of subjects from political events and religious ceremonies to notable visitors, births, deaths and marriages in the royal family, and even unusual weather patterns, as revealed in the doctoral study of this diary by Rahilah Omar (2003). 

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In his diary entry for 10 September 1791, Sultan Ahmad al-Salih makes an oblique comment about a seal: ‘Ijiq came at the request of the Tomaraja (Dutch Governor), to show me the seal made by the Sanggalea named Tukamajai. I told Ijiq, “That seal may represent me, but it’s not my seal”.’ (Reading by Rahilah Omar). British Library, Add. 12354, f. 123v (detail).  noc

There are frequent references in the diary to the use of seals in the administration of the state of Bone: at the investiture of officials such as the Arung (Lord) of Timurung and the Sulewatang (Regent) of Palakka, the sultan would grant them seals. Sultan Ahmad al-Salih’s own seal, an eight-petalled circle, is well-known from a number of manuscript letters, including two in the British Library.  It is inscribed in Arabic in the middle, ādāma Allāh Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin fī mulkihi wa-sulṭānihi Bone, ‘may God preserve Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin in his realm and dominion of Bone’, and around the border, ‘Allāh al-Dā’im bilā fanā’ Allāh al-Bāqī bilā zawāl, ‘God, the Eternal One, never ending; God, the Enduring One, never perishing’.

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Seal of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih, 58 mm diameter (#412), stamped in lampblack on a letter in Bugis. British Library, Add.12359, f.11r  noc

But tucked between the pages of Sultan Ahmad’s diary is one of the most intriguing seal-related documents known from Islamic Southeast Asia: a sheet of seal designs, most likely sketched by the sultan himself. Five octagonal seals are drawn, in varying degrees of completeness and orthographic correctness, all in the name of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih of Gowa, and dated 1201 (AD 1786/7). All bear essentially the same inscription, with the most complete manifestation being found in the seal in the centre of the page: al-sulṭān al-‘ārif billāh Ahmad al-Salih jāharat al-millah wa-al-dīn fī baldat Gowa wa-āhlahā // 1201 hijrat al-nabī ‘alayhi afḍal al-ṣalwat wa-azkā al-taslīm // Allāhumma ṭawwala ‘umrahu wa-saḥḥaḥa ajsādahu wa-nawwara qalbahu wa-thabbata a‘mālahu wa-awsa‘ ārzāqahu, ‘The sultan who is wise in God, Ahmad al-Salih, proclaimer of the nation and religion in the state of Gowa and its people // [the year] 1201 of the hijrah of the prophet, on him be pure benedictions and bounteous blessings // O God, lengthen his life, keep all his body healthy, enlighten his heart, strengthen his works, and increase his blessings’

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Seal designs of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih of Bone describing himself as ruler of Gowa, found in his personal diary.  British Library Add.12354, f.160r  noc

This reference to Ahmad al-Salih as the ruler of the Makassarese kingdom of Gowa is quite surprising, as Ahmad does not feature on any acknowledged kinglists of Gowa. Yet intermarriage between royal families was just as rife in south Sulawesi as it was in Europe, and in fact Ahmad al-Salih was descended from the royal families of both Bone and Gowa: his maternal grandfather was Sultan Abdul Razak Jalaluddin of Bone (r.1749-1775), while his paternal grandfather was Sultan Shahabuddin Ismail of Gowa (r.1709-1711).  Sultan Jalaluddin had selected Ahmad as his heir as ruler of Bone partly because of his paternal royal Gowa blood, in the hope that he would one day unite the two thrones (Rahilah 2003: 50-51). However, in 1777 a former ruler of Gowa who had been exiled by the Dutch to Sri Lanka, I Sangkilang, captured Gowa and ruled it until his death in 1785.  After I Sangkilang’s death, the Dutch seized the regalia of Gowa and presented it to Ahmad al-Salih. With both regalia in his possession, Ahmad al-Salih planned to unite the two kingdoms, and it was evidently just around this time that he began designing his new seal as ruler of Gowa.  In the event, though, Sultan Ahmad’s plans were thwarted by the Dutch who belatedly feared that the joint kingdom of Bone-Gowa would be too formidable to control (Andaya 1996: 107).

There is no evidence that an octagonal seal was ever made up for Sultan Ahmad.  However, in the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam we find a photograph of the original seal matrix of Ahmad’s Bone seal, together with an oval seal in his name as sultan of Gowa (KIT 915/2). The border inscription in the oval seal is the same as that in the octagonal sketches. But in the centre panel, rather than describing himself as 'wise', al-'ārif - a word with strong Sufi overtones implying esoteric knowledge of God, reflecting Ahmad al-Salih’s well-known mystical leanings - in the oval seal Ahmad has laid claim to the even more ambitious title al-sulṭān al-kāmil, ‘the Perfect Sultan’, unmistakeably evoking the Sufi doctrine of al-insān al-kāmil, ‘the Perfect Man’ (cf. Arberry 1979: 104).

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Photographs of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih's seals as ruler of Bone (7a) and of Gowa (7b), with transcriptions by Dr Hoesein Djajadiningrat, at the time curator of manuscripts at the Bataviaasch Genootschap, ca. 1930. KIT 915/2 (detail), 'Vijf fotografische reproducties met Arabische transcripties van de rijkszegels van Bone', Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. Source: Wikimedia Commons  noc

These photographs in the Tropenmuseum document a collection of 43 royal seals from Bone captured by the Dutch in 1905, and placed in the Museum of the Bataviaan Society (Bataviaasch Genootschap). In 1931, the seals were returned from Batavia to Bone for the installation of the last sultan, Karaeng Sigeri, and are today held in the Museum La Pawawoi, a former royal residence in Watampone, Bone, South Sulawesi. Needing to check some details for my forthcoming catalogue of Islamic seals from Southeast Asia, and with little prospect of visiting Watampone in person in the near future, I put up a plea on Facebook in October 2015 requesting help from 'FB friends' in South Sulawesi. I am immensely grateful to Dr Mukrimin, lecturer at IAIN Sultan Amai Gorontalo and an expert on Bugis migration, who, within a few days, went to the Museum and, with the assistance of Mr Irsafril, photographed for me the collection of royal seals. 

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Collection of royal seals from Bone, dating from the 17th to 19th centuries, on display in the Museum La Pawawoi, Watampone. Photograph courtesy of Mukrimin.

And it was only from Mukrimin’s photographs that a final piece of the puzzle fell into place. I could not understand why the Tropenmuseum photographs of seals were all numbered from 1 to 43, except for the two seals of Sultan Ahmad which were numbered 7a and 7b. Mukrimin’s photograph below shows that this is actually a double seal matrix, with Ahmad al-Salih’s 8-petalled seal as sultan of Bone on one face, and his oval seal as sultan of Gowa on the other. But while the Bone seal has been found stamped on over 28 letters and treaties covering the period from at least 1791 to 1809, no documents bearing the Gowa seal have yet been traced, probably reflecting the fact that Ahmad's ambition to wield jurisdiction over both kingdoms was never fully realised.

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The ‘double’ silver seal matrix of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih, showing the face of his 8-petalled seal as ruler of the Bugis kingdom of Bone, and the back of his oval seal as ruler of the Makassarese kingdom of Gowa. Museum La Pawawoi, Watampone. Photograph courtesy of Mukrimin.

Further reading:

Rahilah Omar, The history of Bone AD 1775-1795: the diary of Sultan Ahmad as-Salleh Syamsuddin. [Ph.D. thesis].  University of Hull, 2003.
Annabel Teh Gallop & Venetia Porter, Lasting impressions: seals from the Islamic world. Kuala Lumpur: Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, 2012; pp. 90-93.
A.J. Arberry, Sufism: an account of the mystics of Islam. London: Mandala, 1979.

With thanks to Rahilah Omar for information on references to seals in the diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Shamsuddin, Bink Hallum for help with the Arabic transliterations and translations, Ingeborg Eggink and Koos van Brakel of the Tropenmuseum, Mukrimin and Irsafril for  photographs of the seal matrices, and the Director of the Museum La Pawawoi, Andi Baso Bone Mappasessu.

Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator, Southeast Asia  ccownwork

09 January 2015

Malay manuscripts on Bugis history

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In my last post, I discussed the Bugis diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin of Bone (r.1775-1812) in south Sulawesi (Add. 12354), which has just been digitised. As well as documenting the day-to-day activities at the court, royal Bugis and Makassarese diaries were designed with blank pages between each year, which could be used for notes on important events and copies of letters and treaties, as well as songs and poems, and drawings and designs.

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A decorative calligraphic heading (kepala surat) to be positioned at the top of a letter, in the form of a ship made out of the pious Arabic phrase, Qawluh al-haqq wa-kalamuh al-sidq, ‘His Word is The Truth and His Speech Veracity’, drawn on a blank page in Ahmad al-Salih’s diary. British Library, Add. 12354, f. 118v.  noc

Ahmad al-Salih’s diary is one of a number of official diaries from the court of Bone acquired by John Crawfurd, who led the British expedition against Bone in 1814. During his twenty years of service in the East India Company, stationed in Penang, Java and Singapore, Crawfurd built up an important collection of Malay, Javanese and Bugis manuscripts, which he sold to the British Museum in 1842, and which are now held in the British Library. Crawfurd used his manuscripts extensively to support his research on the history and culture of the Malay world, leading to numerous publications including the three-volume History of the Indian archipelago (1820) and A grammar and dictionary of the Malay language (1852). Crawfurd could read and speak Malay and Javanese, but not Bugis.  Soon after acquiring manuscripts from the royal library of Bone, he appears to have commissioned Malay translations of some of the most important historical notes, documents and letters recorded in the Bugis diaries. Among the Malay manuscripts in the British Library which have recently been digitised are three volumes of Malay translations of Bugis documents from Crawfurd’s collection, mostly dating from around 1814.

The first manuscript, Add. 12396, contains translations in a locally-tinged Malay of Makassarese and Bugis texts, covering the early histories of the kingdoms of Gowa and Bone in the 17th century (ff. 1v-23v).  The volume also contains miscellaneous notes on Arung Palakka and the countries defeated by him (f. 23r), and a copy of the momentous treaty of Bungaya of 1667, marking the defeat of Makassar by combined Dutch and Bugis forces from Bone under Arung Palakka. Other contents include juridical regulations, and sayings and teachings of former rulers of Wajo, Tallo' and Bone.

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A list of the kings of Bone, some with indications of the number of years of their reigns, apparently made during the reign of Matinroe riRompegading (Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin), who died in 1812. British Library, Add. 12396, f. 25r (detail).  noc

A second volume, Add. 12389, contains translations from Bugis diaries from the court of Bone between the years 1759-1775, 1804-1811, and 1805-1807, and from the notes and letters written on the blank pages left between years in the diaries. Topics covered include meetings of high court officials and representatives of other Sulawesi states; envoys of the Dutch authorities to the court of Bone (f. 40r); the ceremony of the investiture of the ruler or Arumpone (f.42v); and records of dreams (f. 56r). Notable in the diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih were reports from visitors and returned pilgrims about the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and in this volume too is recorded, probably early in 1806, news of the Wahhabi takeover of the Hijaz.

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Malay translations of notes from Bugis diaries from the court of Bone. On the right hand page is a note on a visit of an honoured guest from Mecca named Ibrahim Zayn al-‘Abidin, a descendant of the famous Sufi scholar Ahmad al-Qushashi (d.1660), who tells of the Wahhabite actions in Mecca and Medina in demolishing venerated tombs save only for that of the Prophet himself (Maka datang Syaikh Madinah Ahmad Kusasi yang punya cucu dan Ibrahim Zainal Abidin namanya … itu pula yang khabarkan dari Abdul Wahab merusakkan Makkah dan Madinah … maka dirubu(h)kan semuanya kubur dari Makka dan Madina tinggal kuburnya Nabi Muhammad yang tiada dirubuh …). Although this diary entry is undated it probably occurred in early 1806 as it follows a report of flooding on 22 December 1805 following 17 days of heavy rain (f. 57r). British Library, Add. 12389, ff. 58v-59r.  noc

 A third manuscript, Add. 12399, contains fragments of Malay hikayat, mostly religious stories on ‘Alī, Fāṭima and the mi’rāj of the Prophet, as well as translations of letters from Bugis and Makssarese, dating from 1813 to 1814.

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Copies of letters translated into Malay from Bugis. That on the left hand page is addressed affectionately to an elder female (Bahwa peluk cium kepada nenenda …) and is dated 18 January 1814.  British Library, Add. 12399, ff. 54v-55r.  noc

Further reading

Rahilah Omar, The history of Bone AD 1775-1795: the diary of Sultan Ahmad as-Salleh Syamsuddin. [Ph.D. thesis].  University of Hull, 2003. [Available for download from the British Library ETHOS site.]

M.C.Ricklefs & P.Voorhoeve, Indonesian manuscripts in Great Britain: a catalogue of manuscripts in Indonesian languages in British public collections.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.

John Crawfurd and Malay studies. Blog post, 27 May 2014.

Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator, Southeast Asia

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01 January 2015

The Bugis diary of the Sultan of Boné

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The official diaries maintained in the Bugis and Makassarese courts of south Sulawesi constitute a uniquely rich source of data for the history of Indonesia, for no other Muslim kingdoms in Southeast Asia are known to have instituted such a meticulous practice of record keeping. The diary tradition appears to have begun in the early seventeenth century, coinciding with the Islamisation of the states, but was also strongly influenced by intellectual contact with Europeans, principally the Portuguese, for the diaries are predominantly ordered by the Christian calendar.

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Bugis diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih of Bone, showing the entries for January and February 1789. British Library, Add. 12354, ff. 105v-106r.  noc

The British Library holds eleven volumes of court diaries in Bugis, all from the kingdom of Bone (see Ricklefs & Voorhoeve 1977: 27-35).  The earliest (MSS Bugis 1), covering the dates 1660 to 1696, is that of Arung Palakka, the 16th ruler who engineered the spectacular rise of Bone in the 17th century by allying himself with the Dutch to defeat the kingdom of Makassar in 1669.  Other diaries, some kept by senior court officials, cover the periods 1714 through to 1809, albeit with some gaps.  One of the most important Bugis diaries in the British Library, Add. 12354, has just been digitised. This is the diary of Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin, who ruled as the 22nd sultan of Bone from 1775 until his death in July 1812. An adherent of the Khalwatiyya Sufi brotherhood, Ahmad al-Salih was renowned for his religious learning, and was the patron of an exceptionally fine illuminated Qur’an manuscript (Gallop 2010). He began writing the diary in his own hand on 1 January 1775, and continued until the end of 1795. His diary was recently the subject of a doctoral dissertation by Rahilah Omar (2003), and the comments below are largely based on Rahilah’s pioneering study.

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Detail from an ornamental calligraphic design, found on a spare page at the end of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih’s diary. British Library, Add. 12354, f. 201v (detail).

Sultan Ahmad al-Salih’s diary was prepared according to the standard format for official Bugis diaries. Large folio-sized sheets of high-quality European, usually Dutch, paper were bound in volumes, with one page allocated to each calendar month of the year. At the top of the page was written in red ink on the right the year in the Christian era in ‘European’ numerals, and on the left the Portuguese name of the month in the adapted form of the Arabic script called Jawi. In the middle, in black ink, was inscribed the equivalent month, not according to the Hijrah era as might be expected, but according to the Ottoman ‘Rumi’ solar calendar.  Each Friday (Jumaat) is highlighted in red, with an elaborate knotted final letter, ta marbuta. One line was allocated for each day of the month, also written in European numerals. Following the end of one year, and the start of a new one, two pages were left blank. These pages could be filled with notes or copies of letters or other important documents, or sometimes doodles and interesting examples of designs.

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The first entry in Sultan Ahmad al-Salih's diary: on 1 January 1775 he wrote, in Bugis and Arabic, ‘I started writing this diary. God's blessing. There is no god but God, Muhammad is His Messenger.’  At top left in red is the month Janir (from the Portuguese Janeiro); in the middle is the Ottoman month Kānūn al-thānī; on on the right is the year in the Christian Gregorian era, hir 1775. British Library, Add. 12354, f. 6v (detail).

Daily entries in the diary are written in the Bugis language, and in the Bugis script of Indic origin, but with occasional conventional pious phrases in Arabic, such as baraka Allah, ‘God’s blessing’. As Bugis script is written from left to right while Arabic is written from right to left, a certain amount of planning was needed on the part of the writer to estimate exactly how much room to leave in order to fit in a phrase in Arabic.  Some pages have lines left blank on days when no entry was made. On particularly busy days, entries could easily stretch to more than a line, and extra text was fitted in by making judicious right-angled turns wherever spaced allowed, resulting in labyrinthine patterns across the page.

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Sultan Ahmad al-Salih noted on a spare page in his diary the milestones of his personal life: at the top, his marriage to I Tenripada on 3 November 1774, followed by the dates of the births of six of his children, starting with Siti Fatimah at 7 a.m. on Monday 27 Syaaban 1189, equivalent to 23 October 1775. British Library, Add. 12354, f. 184v (detail).

Apart from major political events, in his diary Ahmad al-Salih also comments on the wide range of economic activities in Bone, from wet-rice cultivation to fish-farming, with information on taxes levied on land and river tolls, and the role of slavery. Hobbies and pastimes such as horse riding, sailing on the river, cock fighting and literary pursuits are all noted. Religious festivals are described, and a steady stream of people come to request permission from the sultan to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca (and in 2013 Ahmad al-Salih's diary was selected for display in the British Museum exhibition, Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam). There is information on an exceptionally varied number of subjects, from bride prices to infant mortality. Over the twenty years covered in the diary Ahmad al-Salih documents 89 births in court circles, including 11 deaths and the reasons for these, whether premature delivery or stillbirth (Rahilah 2003: 206). Rahilah has commented that the sultan's remarks are generally factual and he rarely makes personal comments. Nonetheless, amongst the births he describes, only in the case of his own wife does he depict the agony of a woman in labour, noting on 16 December 1794, 'Puang Batara Tungkeq screamed as she suffers [a terrible] stomach pain'. Luckily, the delivery of the baby went well, and the sultan expressed his gratitude and fondness with a gift: 'After 2.00 [p.m.] Puang Batara Tungkeq gave birth to a baby boy ... I gave her two jemma [court maids] as a sign of good wishes for her health' (Rahilah 2003: 205). This is just one of the wealth  of details contained in Sultan Ahmad al-Salih's diary on all aspects of life – political, diplomatic, religious, economic, social and cultural – in Bone in the late 18th century, as uncovered in Rahilah Omar's study.

Further reading

Rahilah Omar, The history of Bone AD 1775-1795: the diary of Sultan Ahmad as-Salleh Syamsuddin. [Ph.D. thesis].  University of Hull, 2003. [Available for download from the British Library ETHOS site.]

M.C.Ricklefs & P.Voorhoeve, Indonesian manuscripts in Great Britain: a catalogue of manuscripts in Indonesian languages in British public collections.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Annabel Teh Gallop, The Boné Qur’an from South SulawesiTreasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Arts of the book and calligraphy, ed. Margaret S. Graves and Benoît Junod.  Istanbul: Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Sakip Sabanci University & Museum, 2010, pp.162-173.

Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator, Southeast Asia

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