Asian and African studies blog


Digital access to Bugis and Makassar manuscripts

The British Library holds a small collection of 32 manuscripts in Bugis and 2 in Makassarese. The manuscripts comprise court diaries from Bone, literary works, treatises on gunnery and medical matters, and letter s and documents, and date from the 17th to the early 19th century. All the manuscripts appear to originate from the court of Bone, south Sulawesi, and were captured in a British military expedition in 1814. 

painting of a winged horse
Painting of a winged horse, found in the Bugis diary of Muhammad Ramadan, Maqdanrang of Bone, 1790-1800.  British Library, Or. 8154, f. 3v  noc

Through the generous support of Singapore-based American philanthropists William and Judith Bollinger, the digitisation of the full collection of Bugis and Makassar manuscript volumes in the British Library was completed in 2019, 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 will also be accessible on the National Library of Singapore's BookSG site.

A full list of the 34 Bugis and Makassar which have been digitised is given below, with hyperlinks from the shelfmarks leading directly to the catalogue entry and digitised images. All the manuscripts were described by the Dutch scholar A.A. Cense, in the published catalogue by M.C. Ricklefs and P. Voorhoeve, Indonesian manuscripts in Great Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 1977; new edition published in 2014), and can also be found on the British Library’s online catalogue, Explore Archives and Manuscripts.

List of digitised manuscripts [34]

Add MS 12346 Bugis poems
Add MS 12347 Makassar version of Hikayat Amir Hamzah
Add MS 12348 La Galigo poems
Add MS 12349 Bugis court diary from Bone, 1780-5
Add MS 12350 Copy of a Bugis court diary from Bone, 1808-12
Add MS 12351 Documents in Makassar
Add MS 12352 La Galigo poems
Add MS 12353 Bugis poems
Add MS 12354 Bugis diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih of Bone, 1775-95
Add MS 12355 Bugis court diary from Bone, 1774-1812
Add MS 12356 Copy of the Bugis diary of the Sultan of Bone, 1775-95
Add MS 12357 Bugis court diary from Bone, 1795-1812
Add MS 12358 Bugis treatises on fire-arms and gunnery
Add MS 12359 Documents in Bugis and Malay
Add MS 12360 Bugis notes on medicine, agriculture, etc.
Add MS 12361 Bugis poems
Add MS 12362 Bugis version of Hikayat Cekel Wanengpati
Add MS 12363 Sufi tracts in Bugis, 1759
Add MS 12364 Bugis version of Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah
Add MS 12365 Bugis treatises on fire-arms and gunnery
Add MS 12366 Bugis version of Hikayat Isma Yatim
Add MS 12367 Mystical treatises in Arabic, Makasar and Bugis
Add MS 12368 Bugis medical tracts
Add MS 12369 Bugis version of a European calendar for 1714-18
Add MS 12370 Bugis translation of Tanbīh al-Ghāfilīn by Abu al-Layth as-Samarqandī
Add MS 12371 Bugis translation of Akhbár al-ákhira by Nūr ad-Dīn ar-Rānīrī, 1765
Add MS 12372 Bugis treatises on diseases and medicines
Add MS 12373 Bugis court diary from Bone, 1793-99
Add MS 12374 Verses from the Qur'an in Arabic with Bugis translation
Add MS 12375 Minhāj at-Tālibīn by Abú Zakariya Yahya an-Nawawi in Arabic, with notes in Bugis, 1748
Or 8154 Bugis diary of the Maqdanrang of Bone, 1790-1800
Or 8154* Letters and fragments of documents found inside Or 8154
MSS Bugis l Copies of Bugis court diaries, 1660-1714
MSS Bugis 2 Copies of Bugis court diaries, 1776-94

Blog posts

13 April 2020, Animal days: three Bugis amulets in British collections, by Roger Tol
11 February 2020, Bugis flower power: a compendium of floral designs
6 January 2020, The royal library of Bone: Bugis and Makassar manuscripts in the British Library
6 July 2018, Bugis manuscript art
22 June 2018, The Bugis diary of the Maqdanrang of Bone
15 June 2018, Two Makasar manuscripts now digitised
4 March 2016, The seals of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih of Bone
9 January 2015, Malay manuscripts on Bugis history
1 January 2015, The Bugis diary of the Sultan of Boné

For more news on Indonesian manuscripts, subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter @BLAsia_Africa; or contact me by e-mail: