Asian and African studies blog


06 March 2018


Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta Digitisation Project

On 20 March 2018 Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, Governor of the Special Region ofYogyakarta, visited the British Library to launch the Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta Digitisation Project. Through the generous support of Mr S P Lohia, over the next twelve months 75 Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta now held in the British Library were digitised, and are now fully and freely accessible online through the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts website. On completion of the project, at a ceremony at the Kraton (Palace) of Yogyakarta on 7 March 2019, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, complete sets of the 30,000 digital images were presented by the British Ambassador to Indonesia, H.E. Moazzam Malik, to Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, and also to to the National Library (Perpustakaan Nasional) of Indonesia, and the Libraries and Archives Service of Yogyakarta (Dinas Perpustakaan dan Arsip DIY).

Illuminated Javanese manuscript of Serat Jaya Lengkara Wulang, 1803. British Library, MSS Jav 24, ff. 30v-31r
Serat Jaya Lengkara Wulang, 1803. British Library, MSS Jav 24, ff. 30v-31r

The 75 Javanese manuscripts which have been digitised include 61 taken by British troops following an armed assault on the Palace (Kraton) of Yogyakarta in June 1812 by forces under the command of the Lieutenant-Governor of Java, Thomas Stamford Raffles. In addition, nine other manuscripts believed to be from Yogyakarta, and five others possibly from Yogyakarta, were identified by Prof. Merle Ricklefs in 1988 (see Ricklefs' annotated listing here). The manuscripts primarily comprise works on Javanese history, literature and ethics, Islamic stories and compilations of wayang (shadow theatre) tales, as well as court papers.  The texts are written in Javanese in both Javanese characters (hanacaraka) and in modified Arabic script (pegon), on European and locally-made Javanese paper (dluwang).

There has always been considerable scholarly interest in this royal collection. Ricklefs had identified a total of 83 Javanese manuscripts believed to be from the Palace of Yogyakarta held in four British public collections (for the full list see here). Prof. Peter Carey secured support from the British Council to microfilm the complete collection, and in August 1989 the microfilms were presented to Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X by the British Ambassador to Indonesia. However, digitisation now makes these manuscripts fully accessible in ways never possible with microfilm.

A full list of the 75 Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta which have been digitised is given below, with a hyperlink from the shelfmark leading directly to the catalogue entry and digitised images. All the manuscripts are described in the published catalogue:

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.


Add. 12281 Serat Panji Angronagung Pakualaman, 1813
Add. 12288 Babad Sultanan utawi Mangkunegaran
Add. 12289 Serat Sakondar
Add. 12294 Serat Gonda Kusuma
Add. 12302 Serat Rejunawijaya, 1802
Add. 12303 Archive of Yogyakarta vol.1
Add. 12304 Babad, Serat Banten, 1786
Add. 12305 Serat Nawawi
Add. 12307 Carita dadine Bumi Selangit
Add. 12308 Babad Kanjeng Panembahan Purubaya, 1813
Add. 12309 Menak Amir Hamza
Add. 12310 Serat Jaya Lengkara Wulang
Add. 12311 Primbon Palintangan Palindon Pakedutan
Add. 12313 Serat Sejarah Demak
Add. 12314 Fikh
Add. 12315 Primbon, assorted texts
Add. 12316 Legendary Javanese history
Add. 12319 Panji story
Add. 12320 Babad Kraton
Add. 12325 Javanese historical excerpts
Add. 12329 Surya Ngalam, legal text
Add. 12330 Babad bedhah ing Ngayogyakarta, by Pangeran Arya Panular, 1815
Add. 12337 Teachings of Sultan Hamengku Buwana I
Add. 12338 Pawukon, 1807
Add. 12341 Archive of Yogyakarta vol.2, 1812
Add. 12342 Archive of Yogyakarta vol.3, 1811
Add. 14397 Archive of Yogyakarta vol.4, 1812
IO Islamic 2617 Arabic text on stones and jewels + other texts 
MSS Jav 4 Bratayudha kawi miring, 1797
MSS Jav 7 Babad Pajajaran, 1786
MSS Jav 8 Sandi sastra, etc., 1766
MSS Jav 9 Carita satus and Serat Bratayuda, fragments, 1811
MSS Jav 10 Sejarah sagung ing para Ratu, 1794
MSS Jav 11 Carita Yusup, 1803
MSS Jav 13 Serat Rama
MSS Jav 19 Wayang texts, 1782
MSS Jav 20 Wayang texts
MSS Jav 21 Sejarah ing para nabi, 1790
MSS Jav 24 Jaya Lengkara Wulang, 1803
MSS Jav 26 Amara Supi, 1769
MSS Jav 27 Jati Kusuma, 1766
MSS Jav 32 Damar Wulan
MSS Jav 33 Sajarah sagung ing para Ratu, 1764
MSS Jav 34 Wayang Gedog texts
MSS Jav 35 Ahmad Muhammad, 1808
MSS Jav 36 Babad Mataram, Babad ing Sangkala, Pawukon, 1738
MSS Jav 37 Wayang texts
MSS Jav 38 Wayang texts
MSS Jav 39 Wayang texts
MSS Jav 41 Primbon collection
MSS Jav 42 Primbon collection
MSS Jav 43 Primbon collection
MSS Jav 44 Wayang texts
MSS Jav 45 Menak Amir Hamza
MSS Jav 46 Arjuna Sasrabahu, 1800
MSS Jav 52 Jaya Lengkara Wulang, 1763
MSS Jav 54 Wayang texts
MSS Jav 58 Serat Pustaka Surya Raja
MSS Jav 59 Wayang text: Kagengan-dalem Serat Kanda
MSS Jav 60 Fragments of Panji texts
MSS Jav 62 Wayang text
MSS Jav 63 Wayang text
MSS Jav 64 Wayang text
MSS Jav 65 Wayang texts
MSS Jav 66 Wayang text
MSS Jav 71 Manik Maya and other texts 
MSS Jav 72 Menak Amir Hamza
MSS Jav 74 Serat Anbiya
MSS Jav 78 Serat Anbiya
MSS Jav 79 Caritanya Nabi Muhammad
MSS Jav 83 Shaṭṭārīya tracts
MSS Jav 84 Primbon collection
MSS Jav 85 Layang sĕmbayang lan tĕtamba
MSS Jav 87 Religious texts
MSS Jav 92 Wilangan wulan, 1782
MSS Jav 103 Caritanipun Urut Kanda, 1816


1 April 2019, Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta digitisation project completed
6 March 2019, The largest Javanese manuscript in the world? Menak Amir Hamza
28 February 2019, Primbon, Javanese compendia of religious knowledge
11 February 2019, Javanese poetics and canto indicators: Jaya Lengkara Wulang (MSS Jav 24), by Dr Dick van der Meij, Hamburg
28 January 2019, Javanese manuscripts in the Mackenzie collection
14 November 2018, Pawukon, Javanese calendrical manuscripts, by Prof. Ann Kumar, ANU
02 November 2018, The Javanese 'Chronicle of the Kingdoms': Babad Kraton, by Prof. Merle Ricklefs, ANU
28 September 2018, Menak Amir Hamza, the Javanese version of the Hamzanama
21 September 2018, Panji in Javanese manuscripts, by Prof. Ann Kumar, ANU
17 September 2018, 15,000 images of Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta now online
21 March 2018, Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta Digitisation Project launched by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X
10 October 2016, The Archive of Yogyakarta digitised


Ceremony for the completion of the Project on 7 March 2019 at the Kraton of Yogyakarta with the presentation of digital files by British Ambassador Moazzam Malik to Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X


Presentation of the Project to Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X in Yogyakarta, 7 November 2017, with Ambassador Moazzam Malik, Mr S P Lohia and Prof. Peter Carey

DSC_3696  DSC_3688  DSC_3700  DSC_3707

Launch of the Project by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X at the British Library, London, 20 March 2018

Javanese MSS Presentation Project_001  Javanese MSS Presentation Project_032  Javanese MSS Presentation Project_002  Javanese Project 02-crop


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