THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Asian and African studies blog

Malay

Digital access to Malay and Indonesian manuscripts

The collection of Malay manuscripts in the British Library consists of about 100 volumes and over 300 documents, uniting collections from the British Museum and the India Office Library, including the archives of the English East India Company. These manuscripts originate from all parts of maritime Southeast Asia, including present-day Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, and the southern regions of Thailand and the Philippines, and range in date from the 17th to the early 20th century. The strengths of the collection are in the fields of literature, history and law, and include some exceptionally significant items such as the oldest known copy of the earliest Malay history, Hikayat Raja Pasai (Or. 14350), and one of the finest illuminated Malay manuscripts, a copy of the Taj al-Salatin (Or. 13295). 

Or_13295_ff190v-191r
Final pages of the Taj al-Salatin, copied in Penang and dated 4 Zulhijah 1239 (31 July 1824).  British Library, Or.13295, ff.190v-191r.  noc

Through the generous support of Singapore-based American philanthropists William and Judith Bollinger, the complete collection of Malay manuscript volumes in the British Library was digitised between 2013 and 2015, in collaboration with the National Library Board of Singapore. The manuscripts have been made available in their entirety on the British Library's Digitised Manuscripts site, and also on the National Library of Singapore's BookSG site. The Asian & African Studies Blog is also featuring regular stories about certain Malay manuscripts.

Most of the Malay manuscripts listed below are described in M.C. Ricklefs and P. Voorhoeve, Indonesian manuscripts in Great Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1977), an updated edition of which, to include recent acquisitions, has recently been published:

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.

If you would like to keep in touch with progress, subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter @BLAsia_Africa; or contact me by e-mail: annabel.gallop@bl.uk

List of digitised Malay manuscripts

Below we have listed the 126 digitised Malay manuscripts, including a few in Arabic from Southeast Asia. Click on the manuscript number to get to the catalogue description of each manuscript, and then click on the thumbnail image to get to the full digitised version of the manuscript, which will open in a new window (please note that all subsequent digitised manuscripts that you view will appear in this same window). Also included in the list below are links to blog posts and other related documents for each manuscript, where available.

IO Islamic 2906
Islamic catechism in Arabic by al-Samarqandi, with Malay translation, Batavia, early 19th c.
Blog post, 7 January 2015: From Samarkand to Batavia: a popular Islamic catechism in Malay

IO Islamic 3048
Qur’an, juz’ 23 & 24, from Java, 19th c.
Blog post, 28 April 2015: Qur'an manuscripts from Java

MSS Malay A.1
Hikayat Ular Nangkawang, early 19th c.
Blog post, 9 Jan 2017: Malay literary manuscripts in the John Leyden collection

MSS Malay A.2
Syair perahu, treebark MS, 18th c.
Blog post, 16 April 2015: Malay manuscripts from south Sumatra

MSS Malay A.3
Malay-Javanese-Madurese vocabulary, early 19th c.
Blog post, 3 April 2015: Early vocabularies of Malay

MSS Malay A.4
Surat pantun cara Lampung, 1812
Blog post, 16 April 2015: Malay manuscripts from south Sumatra

MSS Malay B.1

Hikayat Hang Tuah, final chapters, Penang, early 19th c.
Blog post, 20 January 2014: Ibrahim, portrait of a Malay scribe

MSS Malay B.2
Hikayat Pelanduk Jenaka, 1804
Blog post, 10 February 2015: The wily Malay mousedeer

MSS Malay B.3
Syair orang berbuat amal; Syair Silambari; Syair surat kirim kepada perempuan; Hikayat mi’raj Nabi Muhammad; Penang, 1806
Blog post, 20 January 2015: Ibrahim, portrait of a Malay scribe

MSS Malay B.4
Hikayat Pandawa Jaya, Kota Setar, Kedah, 1805
Blog post, 16 September 2015: The Mahabharata in Malay manuscripts

MSS Malay B.5
Hikayat Putera Jaya Pati, 1806
Blog post, 10 March 2015: Soother of sorrows or seducer of morals? The Malay Hikayat Inderaputera

MSS Malay B.6
Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah, 1805
Blog post, 27 January 2015: A Malay spur to valour: the Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah

MSS Malay B.7
Hikayat Bayan Budiman, 1808
Blog post, 3 March 2015: The Malay tale of the wise parrot

MSS Malay B.8
Hikayat Bayan Budiman, first 10 stories, 1808
Blog post, 3 March 2015: The Malay tale of the wise parrot

MSS Malay B.9
Syair Jaran Tamasa, 1804, copied by Ismail
Blog post, 9 November 2015: A Scottish poet's favourite Malay poem? Syair Jaran Tamasa

MSS Malay B.10
Hikayat Pelanduk Jinaka; Hikayat Lima Fasal, 1805
Blog post, 10 February 2015: The wily Malay mousedeer

MSS Malay B.11
Adat Aceh, early 19th c.

MSS Malay B.12
Hikayat Perang Pandawa Jaya, 1804
Blog post, 16 September 2015: The Mahabharata in Malay manuscripts

MSS Malay B.13
Kitab pengajaran pada segala orang sekalian, [Batavia, early 19th c.]
Blog post, 19 May 2015: A Jawi sourcebook for the study of Malay palaeography and orthography

MSS Malay B.14
Hikayat Inderaputera, ca. 1821
Blog post, 10 March 2015: Soother of sorrows or seducer of morals? The Malay Hikayat Inderaputera

MSS Malay B.15
Kitab Obat-Obat dan Azimat, Pontianak, 1813
Blog post, 19 May 2015: A Jawi sourcebook for the study of Malay palaeography and orthography

MSS Malay C.1
Hikayat Cekel Waneng Pati, early 19th c.
Blog post, 29 June 2015: Panji stories in Malay

MSS Malay C.2
Hikayat Cekel Waneng Pati, 1787
Blog post, 29 June 2015: Panji stories in Malay

MSS Malay C.3
Hikayat Mesa Tandraman, Penang, 1806
Blog post, 29 June 2015: Panji stories in Malay
Blog post, 20 January 2015: Ibrahim, portrait of a Malay scribe

MSS Malay C.4
Hikayat Isma Yatim, early 19th c.
Blog post, 9 Jan 2017: Malay literary manuscripts in the John Leyden collection

MSS Malay C.5
Hikayat Isma Yatim, Penang, 1807
Blog post, 20 January 2015: Ibrahim, portrait of a Malay scribe

MSS Malay C.6
Hikayat Silindung Dalima, 1808
Blog post, 9 Jan 2017: Malay literary manuscripts in the John Leyden collection

MSS Malay C.7
Islamic catechism in Malay [on sembahyang, hukum nikah, etc.], Batavia, early 19th c.
Blog post, 7 January 2015: From Samarkand to Batavia: a popular Islamic catechism in Malay

MSS Malay C.8
Hikayat Maharaja Boma, 1805
Blog post, 16 September 2015: The Mahabharata in Malay manuscripts

MSS Malay D.1
Hikayat Dewa Mandu, 1808
Blog post, 9 Jan 2017: Malay literary manuscripts in the John Leyden collection

MSS Malay D.2
Hikayat Raja Dewa Maharupa, 1802
Blog post, 9 Jan 2017: Malay literary manuscripts in the John Leyden collection

MSS Malay D.3
Hikayat Parang Puting, copied by Ibrahim, Penang, 1806
Blog post, 20 January 2015: Ibrahim, portrait of a Malay scribe

MSS Malay D.4
Hikayat Nabi Yusuf, Perlis, 1802
Blog post, 21 December 2015: A Malay manuscript artist unveiled: Datuk Muda Muhammad of Perlis

MSS Malay D.5
Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah, Hikayat Syahi Mardan, Hikayat Pelanduk Jenaka, Hikayat Nabi Muhammad ... berperang dengan Raja Khaibar, 1805
Blog post, 27 January 2015: A Malay spur to valour: the Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah
Blog post, 10 February 2015: The wily Malay mousedeer

MSS Malay D.6
Syair Jaran Tamasa, copied by Muhammad Bakhar; Hikayat Budak Miskin, copied by Muhammad Kasim, Penang; 1806
Blog post, 9 November 2015: A Scottish poet's favourite Malay poem? Syair Jaran Tamasa

MSS Malay D.7
Caritra Rama (romanized), Surabaya, 1812
Blog post, 16 September 2015: The Mahabharata in Malay manuscripts

MSS Malay D.8
Hikayat Babad (romanized), written for Raffles, 1815
Blog post, 12 May 2015: Malay manuscripts on Javanese history

MSS Malay D.9
Hikayat Tanah Jawa
Blog post, 12 May 2015: Malay manuscripts on Javanese history

MSS Malay D.10
Undang-undang Melaka
Blog post, 20 Feb 2015: Malay legal texts

MSS Malay D.11
Tembai (on bamboo strips), south Sumatra
Blog post, 16 April 2015: Malay manuscripts from south Sumatra

MSS Malay D.12
Undang-undang Aceh, 1873
Blog post, 20 Feb 2015: Malay legal texts

MSS Malay D.13
Genealogy of Luwu
Blog post, 10 April 2015: Royal genealogies from Indonesia and the Malay world

MSS Malay F.1
Genealogy of Pajajaran, 19th c.
Blog post, 10 April 2015: Royal genealogies from Indonesia and the Malay world

MSS Malay F.2
Dutch-English-Malay vocabulary
Blog post, 3 April 2015: Early vocabularies of Malay

MSS Eur A 33
Malay-English vocabulary, 17th c. Bowrey collection
Blog post, 3 April 2015: Early vocabularies of Malay

MSS Eur B 37
English-Malay vocabulary, 19th c.
Blog post, 3 April 2015: Early vocabularies of Malay

MSS Eur D 742/1
Raffles Family Collection, Malay letters sent to Raffles in Melaka, 1811
Blog post, 23 November 2015: Royal Malay letters and seals from Pontianak

MSS Eur E 110
Malay-English vocabulary, 19th c. Raffles collection
Blog post, 3 April 2015: Early vocabularies of Malay

MSS Eur E 378
Letters in Malay and Javanese, Raffles collection, ca.1814
Blog post, 23 November 2015: Royal Malay letters and seals from Pontianak

MSS Eur Mackenzie Private 43
Babat Sekandar, Malay translation of Serat Sakondar, Surabaya, 1814
Blog post, 12 May 2015: Malay manuscripts on Javanese history

Sloane 2393
Undang-undang, 18th c.
Blog post, 4 Nov 2013: Malay manuscripts in the Sloane collection
Blog post, 20 Feb 2015: Malay legal texts

Sloane 3115
Christian hymns, psalms, etc., in romanised Malay, 17th c.
Blog post, 4 Nov 2013: Malay manuscripts in the Sloane collection

Harley Ch 43 A 6   
Letter to the English captain at Jambi from Raja Bendahara of Brunei, 17th c.
Blog post, 14 Nov 2014: An early Malay letter from Brunei

Egerton 933
Malay-English vocabulary, 1731, & Malay journal and notes, 1815 .
Blog post, 17 Oct 2013: Early studies of the Malay language

Add. 4828*
Letter from Sultan Kecil to Gov. Farmer of Bengkulu, early 18th c.
Blog post, 23 July 2014: Malay letters from Bengkulu

Add. 4924
Map of Mindanao, 1775
Blog post, 12 June 2014: A rare map from Mindanao

Add. 7043
Malay grammar by W. Mainston, 1682, a copy by J.H. Hindley, early 19th c.
Blog post, 17 Oct 2013: Early studies of the Malay language

Add. 12312
Qur’an, from Java, Crawfurd collection, c.1800
Blog post, 28 April 2015: Qur'an manuscripts from Java

Add. 12343
Qur’an, from Java, Crawfurd collection, c.1800
Blog post, 28 April 2015: Qur'an manuscripts from Java

Add. 12376
Hikayat Dewa Mandu
Blog post, 11 Nov 2013: Semarang, Javanese city of Malay scribes

Add. 12377
Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah
Blog post, 27 January 2015: A Malay spur to valour: the Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah

Add. 12378
Taj al-Salatin (shortened version), early 19th c.
Blog post, 10 Oct 2013:  Another Malay ‘Mirror for Princes’

Add. 12379
Hikayat Isma Yatim
Blog post, 10 Jan 2014: Malay 'eye candy': illuminated literary manuscripts

Add. 12380
Syair Mesa Gumitar
Blog post, 29 June 2015: Panji stories in Malay

Add. 12381
Syair Dang Sarat
Blog post, 22 Feb 2014: Malay manuscripts on Chinese paper

Add. 12382
Hikayat Ular Nangkawang
Blog post, 22 Feb 2014: Malay manuscripts on Chinese paper

Add. 12383
Hikayat Carang Kulina
Blog post, 27 May 2014: John Crawfurd and Malay studies
Blog post, 29 June 2015: Panji stories in Malay

Add. 12384
Hikayat Hang Tuah, early 19th c.
Blog post, 25 Sept 2013: Hang Tuah: the Malay Rollo or Rustam

Add. 12385
Hikayat Putera Gangga
Blog post, 12 Dec 2013: Reading Malay manuscripts with children

Add. 12385*
Hikayat (Dewa) Indera Layangan
Blog post, 11 Nov 2013: Semarang, Javanese city of Malay scribes

Add. 12386
Hikayat Perintah Negeri Benggala, early 19th c.
Blog post, 11 July 2014: A Malay account of Calcutta

Add. 12387
Hikayat Mesa Taman Sira Panji Jayeng Kusuma
Blog post, 18 July 2014: Malay manuscripts on Javanese paper
Blog post, 29 June 2015: Panji stories in Malay

Add. 12388   
Hikayat Syahi Mardan
Blog post, 11 Nov 2013: Semarang, Javanese city of Malay scribes

Add. 12389   
Malay translations from Bugis and Makassarese texts, early 19th c.
Blog post, 9 January 2015: Malay manuscripts on Bugis history

Add. 12390   
Syair Makrifat
Blog post, 28 July 2014: Malay thoughts on the afterlife

Add. 12391   
Hikayat Naya Kusuma
Blog post, 27 May 2014: John Crawfurd and Malay studies
Blog post, 29 June 2015:
Panji stories in Malay

Add. 12392   
Hikayat Raja Banjar dan Kotaringin, 1816
Blog post, 7 Dec 2013: Malay manuscripts from Borneo

Add. 12393   
Hikayat Raja Babi
Blog post, 28 Nov 2013: The Malay story of the Pig King

Add 12394       
Syair Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, early 19th c.
Blog post, 19 Feb 2014: A Malay ballad from Kedah: the naval battle for Phuket

Add. 12395   
Undang-undang Malaka
Blog post, 20 Feb 2015: Malay legal texts

Add. 12396   
Malay translations from Bugis, 1814
Blog post, 9 January 2015: Malay manuscripts on Bugis history

Add. 12397   
Risalat Hukum Kanun
Blog post, 20 Feb 2015: Malay legal texts

Add. 12398   
Farquhar letterbook, early 19th c.

Add. 12399   
Letters and fragments of hikayat, 1814
Blog post, 9 January 2015: Malay manuscripts on Bugis history

Add.18141   
F.2r, Letter from Sultan Muhammad Yasin of Ternate to the Eng. Comm. in Ambon, 1802
Blog post, 18 Oct 2014: A royal Malay letter from Ternate

Add.45271       
Letters from Sultan Abdullah of Kedah to Francis Light, Gov. of Penang, late 18th c.

Add.45273       
44 farewell letters in Javanese and Malay to Raffles from dignitaries of Java, with Engl. translations, 1816

Or.4575   
Malay-French vocabulary, early 19th c.
Blog post, 17 Oct 2013: Early studies of the Malay language

Or.4942, ff. 228-229
Account of a conversion to Christianity, 19th c.

Or. 6899   
Syair Makrifat
Blog post, 28 July 2014: Malay thoughts on the afterlife

Or. 9484   
Proclamation by T.S. Raffles after the conquest of Java, 1811
Blog post, 11 August 2014: The British capture of Java

Or. 11365   
Panji story
Blog post, 18 July 2014: Malay manuscripts on Javanese paper
Blog post, 29 June 2015: Panji stories in Malay

Or. 12986
Seribu maksa, MS on bamboo, south Sumatra, 19th c.
Blog post, 16 April 2015: Malay manuscripts from south Sumatra

Or. 13295   
Taj al-Salatin, Penang, 1824
Blog post, 6 Sept 2013: The Crown of Kings: a deluxe Malay manuscript from Penang

Or. 13716   
Sifat dua puluh
Blog post, 3 December 2015: The Twenty Attributes of God in Malay: Sifat Dua Puluh

Or.14194   
Prayerbook, from Aceh
Blog post, 3 December 2015: The Twenty Attributes of God in Malay: Sifat Dua Puluh

Or.14350   
Hikayat Raja Handik & Hikayat Raja Pasai, Semarang, 1797
Blogpost, 24 Oct 2013: Hikayat Raja Pasai, the oldest Malay history
Blog post, 19 May 2015: A Jawi sourcebook for the study of Malay palaeography and orthography

Or.14537   
Letter from Haji Abdul Rahman of Banjarmasin
Blog post, 7 Dec 2013: Malay manuscripts from Borneo

Or.14549   
Syair Baginda, Brunei, late 19th c.
Blog post, 19 May 2015: A Jawi sourcebook for the study of Malay palaeography and orthography

Or.14734   
Sejarah Melayu, Melaka, 1873
Blog post, 13 Sept 2013:  Sejarah Melayu: a Malay masterpiece
Blog post, 10 April 2015: Royal genealogies from Indonesia and the Malay world

Or.14858   
Letter from Pangeran of Sumenep to Captain James Clark, 1814
Blog post, 5 August 2014: A Malay letter from Madura

Or.15510 A & Or.15510 B
Two letters from Mindanao, 18th c.
Blog post, 26 June 2014: Two letters in Maguindanao

Or. 15227
Qur’an, from Patani or Kelantan
Blog post, 12 Mar 2013: An illuminated Malay Qur’an

Or. 15932
Papakem Pawukon, in Malay and Javanese, Bogor, 1814
Blog post, 10 April 2015: Royal genealogies from Indonesia and the Malay world

Or. 15646
Sayr al-salikin, Aceh, 19th c.
Blog post, 6 February 2017: Abdul Samad of Palembang, Malay guide to the writings of al-Ghazali

Or. 15936
Malay vocabularies. Leyden collection
Blog post, 17 Oct 2013: Early studies of the Malay language

Or. 15979
Sirat al-mustakim, Aceh
Blog post, 10 March 2015: Soother of sorrows or seducer of morals? The Malay Hikayat Inderaputera

Or. 16035   
Mirat al-tullab, by Abdul Rauf of Singkel, 18th c.
Blog post, 5 December 2016: A Malay work on Islamic law from Aceh: Mirat al-tullab
Blog post, 19 May 2015: A Jawi sourcebook for the study of Malay palaeography and orthography

Or.16126   
Letter from Temenggung of Johor to Napoleon III of France, 1857
Blog post, 22 Aug 2013:  A 'Golden letter' in Malay to Napoleon III

Or.16128   
Hikayat Raja Khandak dan Raja Badar

Or. 16129   
Religious work

Or.16214   
Sejarah Melayu, early 19th c.
Blog post, 25 Nov 2013: Two Malay manuscripts from Wales, Sejarah Melayu and Hikayat Hang Tuah
Blog post, 19 May 2015: A Jawi sourcebook for the study of Malay palaeography and orthography

Or.16215   
Hikayat Hang Tuah, early 19th c.
Blog post, 25 Nov 2013: Two Malay manuscripts from Wales, Sejarah Melayu and Hikayat Hang Tuah

Or.16446   
Panji story
Blog post, 18 July 2014: Malay manuscripts on Javanese paper
Blog post, 29 June 2015: Panji stories in Malay

Or.16447   
Hikayat Puteri Bakawali, Hikayat Galila Damina and a fragment of Syair Ken Tabuhan, Taiping, 1888
Blog post, 29 June 2015: Panji stories in Malay

Or. 16604
Hidayat al-salikin, Aceh, 1783
Blog post, 6 February 2017: Abdul Samad of Palembang, Malay guide to the writings of al-Ghazali

Or. 16762
Religious texts, from Aceh, 19th c.

Or. 16763
Religious texts, from Aceh, 19th c.

Or. 16764
Religious texts, from Aceh, 19th c.

Or. 16765
Religious texts, from Aceh, 19th c.

Or. 16766
Religious texts, from Aceh, 19th c.

Or. 16767
Islamic texts in Malay and Arabic, Aceh, 19th c.
Blog post, 3 December 2015: The Twenty Attributes of God in Malay: Sifat Dua Puluh

Or. 16768
Religious texts, from Aceh, 19th c.

Or.16769   
Kitab Mawlid, in Arabic and Malay, from Aceh

Or. 16773
Religious texts, from Aceh, 19th c.

Or. 16875
Scroll with prayers and charms, 19th c.
Blog post, 23 Jan 2017: The Seal of Prophethood: Malay prayers for protection

Or. 16915
Qur’an, from Aceh
Blog post, 24 Mar 2014: An illuminated Qur’an manuscript from Aceh

 

Other digitised manuscripts from Indonesia and the Malay world

Balinese

Egerton 765
Gold letter from the princes of Badung and Mengwi, 1768
Blog post, 14 April 2016: A gold letter from Bali

Or. 12579
Bagus Umbara, Singaraja, 1928

Batak

Add. 4726
Pustaha, on the lemon oracle, before 1764
Blog post, 28 Nov 2016: Batak manuscripts in the British Library

Bugis

Add. 12354
Diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin of Bone, 1775 to 1795
Blog post, 1 January 2015: The Bugis diary of the Sultan of Bone
Blog post, 4 March 2016: The seals of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih of Bone

Javanese

Sloane 1035
Record of a debt, on palm leaf

Sloane 1403A
Record of a purchase, on palm leaf, ca.1715

Sloane 1403E
Record of an account, on bamboo, in Javanese, Lampung and Chinese

Sloane 2645
Masa'il al-ta'lim, in Arabic and Javanese, 1623

Add. 12303
Yogyakarta court records: mostly documents of a legal nature, late 18th c.
Blog post, 10 August 2016: The Archive of Yogyakarta digitised

Add. 12341
Yogyakarta court records: a collection of original letters, land grants, etc., 1786-1812.
Blog post, 10 August 2016: The Archive of Yogyakarta digitised

Add. 12342
Yogyakarta court records: a collection of original letters, land grants, etc., 1772-1811.
Blog post, 10 August 2016: The Archive of Yogyakarta digitised

Add. 14397
Yogyakarta court records: a collection of original letters, land grants, etc., 1798-1812.
Blog post, 10 August 2016: The Archive of Yogyakarta digitised

MSS Jav 24
Serat Jayalengkara Wulang
Blog post, 18 August 2014: A Javanese manuscript artist at work

MSS Jav 28
Serat Selarasa
Blog post, 4 Mar 2013: Javanese art in the early 19th century: Serat Selarasa
Blog post, 1 Dec 2014: Javanese manuscript art: Serat Selarasa

MSS Jav 89
Serat Damar Wulan
Blog post, 21 Mar 2013: Everyday life in Java in the late 18th century: Serat Damar Wulan

Old Javanese

Sloane 3480
Fragment of palm leaf

Ind. Ch. 57
Pabuharan inscription, and one other; ca. 9th c.
Blog post, 20 Dec 2016: Old Javanese copper charters in the British Library

MSS Jav 106
Sobhāmṛta inscription; charter of Pu Sindok, AD 939
Blog post, 20 Dec 2016: Old Javanese copper charters in the British Library

 Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator, Southeast Asian studies

 

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