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7 posts categorized "Bugis"

06 July 2018

Bugis manuscript art

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In my recent post on a court diary from Bone in south Sulawesi, I noted the tradition in Bugis diaries of leaving blank pages between each year, which could then be filled with notes and copies of important documents. Such pages also often contain doodles and, not infrequently, small sketches such as floral motifs. Quite exceptional, though, is a full-page, highly accomplished painting of a winged horse, found at the end of the diary of the Maqdanrang of Bone, Muhammad Ramadan, uncle of the Sultan of Bone, Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin (r. 1775-1812).

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

My attention was particularly drawn to the sage-green clump of rocks in the foreground on the left, with an undulating outline and with small tufts of vegetation. Although green is fairly common in Javanese illustrated manuscripts, as in the copy of Serat Sela Rasa below, this pigment is only rarely encountered in manuscript art from other parts of the Southeast Asian archipelago such as Sumatra or the Malay peninsula. Indeed, the use of this particular shade of green for landscape features, and the small sprigs of grass, cannot help but recall certain paintings in Persian manuscripts, such as the two Mughal examples shown below. It is well-known that the refined tradition of miniature painting which flourished in Persianate courts, and others influenced by them, never took root in Islamic kingdoms in the Malay world. But the green rocks in the Bugis painting might be the smallest hint that even if the tradition itself never developed in Southeast Asia, such paintings may occasionally have been glimpsed in the courts of south Sulawesi. In the 17th century, Makassar was one of the most cosmopolitan and cultured cities in the Malay world, and the sultan of Talloq who was also the chancellor of Gowa, Pattingaloang, was known to have possessed a great library, including many European books.

A partridge (durraj) against a hilly green backdrop, by Manṣūr Naqqāsh, from the Memoirs of the Mughal Emperor Babur, c. 1590-93. British Library, Or. 3714, f. 387r  noc

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Gushtasp kills a rhinocerous, in a landscape of green hills with grassy tufts, from Firdawsi's Shāhnāmah, North India, 1719. British Library, Add. 18804, f. 7r  noc

Within the field of Islamic manuscript art, a winged horse often suggests Buraq, the steed on which the prophet Muhammad travelled to heaven during his miraculous night journey (al-Isrā’ wa-al-Mir‘āj). And yet Buraq is usually portrayed with a human-like face, which is not the case here. A closer parallel may be drawn with winged horses occasionally encountered in Javanese illustrated manuscripts, for example in Serat Sela Rasa shown below. However the significance of this Bugis horse, and any possible literary allusions, remains enigmatic. 

Winged horse in a Javanese manuscript of Serat Sela Rasa, 1804. British Library, MSS Jav 28, f. 68r  noc

The painting of the horse in the Maqdanrang's diary is of very great significance in being the only known example of developed figural painting in a manuscript from Sulawesi, although anthropomorphic stick-figures are frequently encountered in divination and calendrical manuscripts. The confident presentation of the horse—with the stylized single-plane wings contrasting with the naturalistic portrayal of the body—and the skillful colouring hint at a tradition of Bugis manuscript art, as also manifest in a number of impressive illuminated Qur'an manuscripts known from south Sulawesi (cf. Gallop 2010).

More drawings, albeit uncoloured, are found on other pages of the Maqdanrang’s diary, and similar sketches can also be seen in the Bugis diary of the Maqdanrang's brother, Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin himself, for the years 1775-1795. These sketches are reproduced below.

Or_8154_f007v-crop   Or_8154_f002r-crop
Two sketches from the diary of the Maqdanrang of Bone, 1790-1800. Left, a highly stylised representation of a peacock, Or. 8154, f. 7v; right, a peacock fan, Or. 8154, f. 7v and f. 2r.  noc

Calligraphic composition with the first two verses of Surat al-Ikhlas in the diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin of Bone, 1775-1795. British Library, Add. 12354, f. 201v  noc

 Add_ms_12354_f001r-a Add_ms_12354_f001r-c Add_ms_12354_f001r-b
Doodled sketches on the first page of the diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin of Bone. The floral design in the middle, with the word Allah at the centre, may be of of mystical significance. British Library, Add. 12354, f. 1r   noc

Beautiful eight-pointed star design within a circle, sketched in the diary Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin of Bone, 1775-1795. British Library, Add. 12354, f. 172v   noc

With many thanks to Ursula Sims-Williams, Elaine Wright and Marianna Shreve Simpson for advice on paintings in Persian manuscripts.

Further reading:

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


22 June 2018

The Bugis diary of the Maqdanrang of Bone

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The most well-known Bugis manuscript in the British Library is the diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih Syamsuddin of Bone (r. 1775-1812), covering the two decades from the start of his reign in 1775 to 1795. This treasury of information on daily life at the court of Bone in south Sulawesi was made accessible through the doctoral study by Rahilah Omar (2003), and the full diary, Add. 12354, is accessible online.

Now a second Bugis court diary from Bone, Or. 8154, covering the years 1790 to 1800, has also been digitised. A. A. Cense identified the diarist as the Maqdanrang, one of the highest Bone officials: “it was he who dealt with all kinds of state affairs and through whose hands all important letters passed. The notes for the years 1795-8 give much information on the struggle between Bone and Sidenreng, the attitude of the other south Sulawesi states, and Dutch efforts to maintain peace. Some notes refer to battles, the erection of strongholds, and chiefs who died in action. For the rest the diary contains notes on legal questions, especially on matrimonial law and property. Events in the royal family and the ruling classes receive great attention” (Ricklefs and Voorhoeve 1977: 34). Rahilah (2003: 58) has named the Maqdanrang as Muhammad Ramallang (the Bugis form of the Arabic Ramaḍān), Arung (Lord) Ponre, father-in-law and maternal uncle of the ruler, Sultan Ahmad al-Salih. An entry in the Sultan's diary for 7 July 1775 announces the appointment of Muhammad Ramallang as Maqdanrang or private secretary to the ruler, one of the three most senior officials in the Bone administration, along with the Tomarilalang, head of the advisory council, and the Maqkedangngetana, 'Spokesman of the Land' (Rahilah 2003: 196).

Or_8154_f077r   Add_ms_12354_f143v
The diary of the Maqdanrang is much more sparsely filled, with an average of 5 entries per month, than that of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih, which has around 22 entries per month (Rahilah 2003: 34),  as shown above in a comparison of the same month. Left, diary of the Maqdanrang for March 1794. British Library, Or. 8154, f. 77r . Right, diary of the Sultan of Bone for March 1794. British Library, Add. 12354, f. 143v  noc

As was usual for Bugis court diaries, the pages were prepared in advance, with one month per page according to the Gregorian (AD) calendar, with one line allocated for each day of the month, and Fridays (Jumaat) highlighted in red. If the events of the day took up more than one line, the scribe would write in a rectangular labyrinthine pattern, as shown above. In between each year, a few pages were always originally left blank, and these could be filled with miscellaneous jottings and copies of important documents. Found in the Maqdanrang's diary are notes on a wide variety of subjects, including on alliances and war activities, correspondence with the Dutch, and on the astronomical, meteorological, and agricultural calendar.

On the left-hand page are notes on names of days and their auspicious or inauspicious natures, and on the right-hand page are rules for people who pay homage to the Arumpone (the sultan), as well as calligraphic sketches of letter headings. British Library, Or. 8154, ff. 7v-8r  noc

Stored alongside this diary is a second volume, Or. 8154*, which contains 103 letters, fragments of letters, and scraps of paper in Bugis, Makasarese, Malay and Arabic, said to have been found inside the binding of Or. 8154, presumably when the volume was rebound in the British Museum bindery in the early 20th century. Both volumes were presented to the British Museum in 1916 by a Miss E. G. Wren. It is probable that these two volumes - like the other Bugis manuscripts in the British Library from the collection of John Crawfurd - were acquired during the British military campaign against Bone in 1814.

Among the miscellaneous notes found in the diary of Sultan Ahmad al-Salih are sketches for his seal, and a similar feature is encountered in the Maqdanrang's diary. As can be seen on the left-hand page above, nestled amongst notes is a circular sketch of a seal, inscribed in Arabic al-wāthiq billāh Muhammad Ramadan ibn al-Sultan Jalaluddin, ‘He who trusts in God, Muhammad Ramadan, son of the Sultan Jalaluddin’, referring to his father Sultan Abdul Razak Jalaluddin of Bone (r. 1748-1775). This inscription can be linked with a 12-petalled seal of which numerous faint  impressions are found in Or. 8154*, while a much clearer impression can be seen on a contract between Bone and the Dutch of 27 December 1794, signed and sealed by the Sultan, Maqdanrang and Tomarilalang of Bone. The original silver seal matrix is held today in the Museum Lapawawoi in Watampone, Bone. 

Sketch for a seal in the name of Muhammad Ramadan in the diary of the Maqdanrang of Bone. Or. 8154, f. 8r   noc

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Left: lampblack impression of Muhammad Ramadan's seal, on a renewal agreement with the Dutch of 27 December 1794, annotated Het zegel van der Madanrang, 'the seal of the Madanrang'. National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia, Makassar 375/45.
Right: original silver seal matrix of Muhammad Ramadan. Museum La Pawawoi, Watampone, Sulawesi Selatan; photograph courtesy of Mukrimin, October 2017.

Faint impressions of the seal of Muhammad Ramadan on a document. British Library, Or. 8154*, f. 40v   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.
M.C. Ricklefs and P. Voorhoeve, Indonesian manuscripts in Great Britain.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Southeast Asia collections in the British Library

Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator, Southeast Asia  ccownwork

15 June 2018

Two Makasar manuscripts now digitised

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The Makasar people originate from south Sulawesi, the bottom left arm of the orchid-shaped island of Sulawesi. In the 17th century the port-city of Makasar (alternatively spelled Makassar or Macassar), comprising the twin kingdoms of Gowa and Tallo’, was one of the greatest and most cosmopolitan ports in Southeast Asia. A gateway to the spice trade of the Moluccas, and an important source of rice, Makasar had particularly benefitted from an influx of Malay and other Muslim merchants following the fall of Melaka to the Portuguese in 1511. Makasar embraced Islam relatively late, with the conversion of the sultan of Gowa in 1605, but Islam rapidly became firmly entrenched in south Sulawesi society.

Map of Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, from a 17th-century Dutch portolano. Makasar is located in the bottom left corner. British Library, Add. 34184, f.62  noc

Writing traditions in the Makasar language (also referred to as Makasarese, Makassar or Makassarese) date back at least to the 17th century, and may be encountered in four different scripts. Old Makasar script is of Indic origin, and is written from left to right. It is mainly associated with manuscripts in the 17th and 18th century and appears to have become obsolete in the course of the 19th century, since when the Bugis/Makasar script has been used. However, the Bugis/Makasar script (often called simply Bugis script) coexisted with Old Makasar script from the 17th century onwards, and both probably developed from an earlier prototype similar to Kawi or Old Javanese script. Makasar can also be written in  Arabic script (known locally as serang), which was frequently used in religious contexts, and texts in Roman script are also found (Tol 1996: 214).

The British Library holds only two manuscripts in Makasar, one written in Old Makasar script and one in Bugis/Makasar script. Both have now been digitised, and can be read on the Digitised Manuscripts website and by following the hyperlinks below. Like the larger number of Bugis manuscripts in the British Library, these two Makasar manuscripts derive from the collection of John Crawfurd, who served with the British administration in Java from 1811 to 1815. In 1814 Crawfurd led a punitive British expedition to south Sulawesi, and the two Makasar manuscripts were most likely acquired on this occasion. Crawfurd’s manuscripts were acquired by the British Museum in 1842.

Copies of treaties between Goa and Tallo' in the 16th century, in Makasarese in Old Makasar script. British Library, Add. 12351, ff. 12v-13r.  [NB these pages have been bound upside down in the manuscript.]  noc

The manuscript in Old Makasar script, Add. 12351, contains copies of documents on a variety of historical, diplomatic and legal topics, which were identified by Dr A. A. Cense for the catalogue of Indonesian mansucripts in British collections (Ricklefs & Voorhoeve 1977: 99).  Contents include the sayings of former princes, declarations of war, and notes on right behaviour and customary law.  There are also texts on the status of the countries of the island of Sumbawa which were subdued by Tumenanga riAgamana, king of Tallo’ and co-ruler of Goa in the beginning of the 17th century, as well as copies of treaties between Goa and Bone, and between Goa and Tallo’ in the 16th century.  Other texts concern the history of various polities in south Sulawesi covering periods up to the mid-17th century, including Goa, up to and including the reign of Tu-menanga riPapambatuna (1649-53); Tallo’, up to and including the reign of Tu-mammalianga riTimoro' (1636-41); Sanrabone, Maros and Bangkala’, as well as notes on the ancestors of Karaeng Cenrana and of Tu-menanga riLakiung (lived 1652-1709).  Parts of this manuscript (from ff. 12v-35v) have been bound upside down.

Hikayat Amir Hamzah, written in Makasarese in Bugis/Makasar script, with names of the characters written in Arabic script in black ink, and chapter headings and 'paragraph words' in Malay written in red in Arabic (Jawi) script. Add. 12347, ff. 11v-12r.  noc

The second Makasar manuscript, Add. 12347, is a fragment of a Makasar version of the Malay Hikayat Amir Hamzah, itself derived from the Persian Hamzanama, recounting the adventures of the uncle of the prophet Muhammad. The manuscript is written in Makasar script (which reads from left to right), with insertions in Malay in Jawi script (which reads from right to left) marking the start of new chapters and sections in the text. Reflecting the confusion of a 19th-century custodian, the folios in the manuscript have been numbered ‘backwards’. The volume therefore begins on f. 37r with the 59th chapter (with a heading in Malay in Jawi script: ceritera yang keanam puluh sembilan), dealing with Amir Hamza's fight against Sudad and his grief at the death of his wife Mihrananigara. The manuscript ends abruptly in the 68th chapter, in which Hamza's voyage to the country of Ḥuṭānah is described, where he finds Raja Nasarwan (Nasruwan), on the way encountering a group of fire-worshippers.

Although these are the only two full manuscript volumes in Makasar in the British Library, there are also a number of documents and fragmentary texts in Makasar contained in mainly Bugis manuscripts. For example, Or 8154*, a volume consisting of scraps of texts found within the binding of the Bugis diary of a prince of Bone for the years 1790-1800, contains a few Makasar documents including a fragment of a page from a diary written in Old Makasar script for 1733 shown below.

Fragment of a diary in Old Makasar script, for 1733. British Library, Or. 8154*, f. 100  noc

Through the Endangered Archives Programme, the British Library also holds digital copies of a few Makasar manuscripts, documented during a pilot project in Makassar.

Local history of Galesong, Makassar, copied ca. 1975 from a lontara' belonging to Karaeng Galesong, now held by Daeng Jarung, Desa Boddia, Galesong. British Library, EAP365/2/2

Further reading:

Roger Tol, A separate empire: writings of south Sulawesi.  Illuminations: writing traditions of Indonesia, ed. Ann Kumar & John H. McGlynn; pp. 213-230.  Jakarta: Lontar Foundation, 1996.
M.C. Ricklefs and P. Voorhoeve, Indonesian manuscripts in Great Britain.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Annabel Teh Gallop, Lead Curator, Southeast Asia  ccownwork

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’.

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.

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

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

Add 12287 (2)
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

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

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

Add 19381 (5)
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

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

Or 11761 (1)
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). 

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’.

Add.12359, f.11r
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’

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).

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. 

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.

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.

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.


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.

Add.12389, ff.58v-59r copy
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.

Add.1299, ff.54v-55r copy
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


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.

Add.12354 (1)
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.

Add.12354 (8)
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.

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.

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