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06 March 2018


Digital access to Javanese, Old Javanese and Balinese manuscripts

Javanese manuscripts form the largest portion of the 500 Indonesian manuscripts in the British Library, with around 20 manuscripts in Old Javanese and 240 in modern Javanese, written in Javanese characters (hanacaraka) or in modified Arabic script (pegon). About 200 are written on paper, either of European or Chinese manufacture or locally-made Javanese treebark paper (dluwang), while 55 are on palm leaf.  There are also two sets of Old Javanese copper charters and one document on bamboo. The collection is rich in works on history, ethics, literature and wayang (shadow theatre) tales, and also contains many Islamic works and court papers.  Most of the manuscripts (excepting those with Or. shelfmarks) were acquired during the British administration of Java (1811-1816).  There are also about 20 manuscripts in Balinese, mostly written on palm leaf.  All the manuscripts are catalogued in the following volume:

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.

We hope soon to have the complete collection of Javanese manuscripts digitised and listed on the online catalogue through the generous support of our patrons and benefactors as listed below.  Hyperlinks from the shelfmarks link directly to the catalogue entry and digitised images.

EFEO Java-Bali Palmleaf Manuscripts Digitisation Project (2022-2023)
In collaboration with the École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO) the British Library is currently digitising its complete collection of 70 palmleaf manuscripts from Java and Bali, written in Old Javanese, Javanese and Balinese. This includes a collection of 35 relatively old manuscripts (MSS Jav 53 a-ii) which were obtained by Colin Mackenzie in 1811-1813 from the Puger region of East Java.

First page of Sang Hyang Hayu, Old Javanese text written on gebang leaf, ca. 15th-16th c. British Library, MSS Jav 105, f. 1v  Noc

Add MS 12273 Serat Rama
Add MS 12274 Arjunawiwaha K.
Add MS 12275 Raden Kusuma
Add MS 12276 Ramayana Kakawin
Add MS 12277 Kutara Manawa
Add MS 12278 Ramayana
MSS Jav 53 a Tantri
MSS Jav 53 b Tutur
MSS Jav 53 c Mantras etc.
MSS Jav 53 d Ki Ahmad
MSS Jav 53 e Niti Sara
MSS Jav 53 f Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 g Tutur
MSS Jav 53 h Sanghyang Kalimahosadha
MSS Jav 53 i Mantras
MSS Jav 53 j Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 k Tutur
MSS Jav 53 l Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 m Magic text [not digitised; missing since at least 1990]
MSS Jav 53 n Mystic text
MSS Jav 53 o Rasayajna, 1628; Darma Kamulaning Dadi
MSS Jav 53 p Unidentified OJ text
MSS Jav 53 q Balinese religious text
MSS Jav 53 r Tutur
MSS Jav 53 s Balinese text
MSS Jav 53 t Sang Hyang Hayu, 1493 
MSS Jav 53 u Tutur
MSS Jav 53 v Text on Nabis
MSS Jav 53 w Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 x Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 y Mantras
MSS Jav 53 z Layang kuna
MSS Jav 53 aa Fragment on ethics
MSS Jav 53 bb Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 cc Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 dd Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 ee Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 ff Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 gg Tutur and other texts
MSS Jav 53 hh Unidentified text
MSS Jav 53 ii Unidentified text
MSS Jav 105 Sang Hyang Hayu
Or 3583 Pawukon
Or 5306 Anang Niratha Kakawin
Or 9809 Carita Yusup
Or 13095 Fragments in Balinese
Or 13277 Sutasoma Kakawin illustrations
Or 13326 Unidentified Balinese text
Or 13329 Carita Yusup
Or 13379 Bharatayuddha illustrations
Or 13380 Pitr-Loka, illustrated text on the afterlife
Or 13490 Two Kawisesan magical texts
Or 13518 Ramayana illustrations
Or 14023 Calendar
Or 14024 Kidung specimens
Or 14606 Carita Yusup
Or 14607 Carita Yusup
Or 14608 Carita Yusup
Or 14609 Carita Yusup
Or 14610 Arjuna Wiwaha illustrations
Or 16588 Unidentified Balinese text
Or 16665 Balinese text on magic or healing
Or 16666 Ramayana scenes
Or 16801 Usada (medical texts)
Or 16802 Adiparwa illustrations
Or 16803 Raden Ardi Kusuma romance
Or 16911 Calendar
Or 16912 Historical prose text
Or 16913 CaritaYusup
Or 16914 Carita Yusup

Blog posts
26 June 2023, EFEO Java-Bali Palmleaf Manuscripts Digitisation Project
4 September 2023, Javanese palm leaf manuscripts written in Buda script in the British Library, by Agung Kriswanto

Bollinger Javanese Manuscripts Digitisation Project (2020-2023)
With the support of William and Judith Bollinger, 120 paper manuscripts in Javanese are currently being digitised, as listed below. These include manuscripts from Yogyakarta decorated in the Pakualaman court from the collection of John Crawfurd, British Resident of Yogyakarta (1811-1814) and volumes from the pasisir regions of the north coast of Java collected by Col. Colin Mackenzie (in Java 1811-1813), as well as more recent acquisitions in the British Library.

Decorated frames in Babad Pacina, 1795
Illuminated frames at the start of Babad Pacina, early 19th c. British Library, Add 12301, ff. 1v-2r 

Add. 12279 Bharatayuddha, 1814
Add. 12280 Serat Babad Mangkunagaran, 1800
Add. 12282 Serat Babad Pakubuwanan, c. 1814
Add. 12283 Serat Babad Pakunegaran, 1813
Add. 12284 Serat Rama Keling, 1814
Add. 12285 Serat Angling Darma, early 19th c.
Add. 12286 Serat Jaya Kusuma, 1813
Add. 12287 Babad Sĕjarah Mĕntaram, early 19th c.
Add. 12290 Serat Kitab Tupah, early 19th c.
Add. 12291 Serat Maliawan, 1813
Add. 12292 Babad, 1813
Add. 12293 Serat Babad Mangkuratan, 1813
Add. 12295 Serat Gonda Kusuma, 1813
Add. 12296 Menak story, 1813
Add. 12297 Serat Gonda Kusuma, early 19th c.
Add. 12298 Babad Pajang, early 19th c.
Add. 12299 Menak story, early 19th c.
Add. 12300 Legendary tales, 1815
Add. 12301 Babad Pacina, 1795
Add. 12306 Serat Babad Metaram, 1807
Add. 12317 Serat Babad Pati, early 19th c.
Add. 12318 Serat Babad Pakunegaran
Add. 12321 Undang wangsul, 1814
Add. 12322 Serat Babad Sengkala, 1805
Add. 12323 Kagungandalĕm Sĕrat Surya Ngalam kalih Salokatar, 1815
Add. 12324 Sĕrat pĕpujanepun tiyang Tĕnggĕr ingkang kina-kina, 18th-early 19th c.
Add. 12326 Serat Bratayuda, between 1808-1814
Add. 12327 Serat Rama Wijaya, 1813
Add. 12328 Sajarah ing Narendra, 1815
Add. 12331 Babad, late 18th c.
Add. 12332 Jaya Lengkara, 18th-early 19th c.
Add. 12333 Serat Sejarah Demak, between 1808-1816
Add. 12334 Various Javanese texts, 1814
Add. 12335 Serat Suluk, late 18th-early 19th c.
Add. 12336 Kutara Manawa, 1814
Add. 12339 Serat Jaya Lengkara, 1793
Add. 12340 Facsimile of a Kawi inscription, 1814
Add. 12344 Javanese dictionary, early 19th c.
Add. 12345 Panji Murdaningkung, early 19th c.
Add. 14851 Anbiya, 1818
Add. 18397 Layang Wiwaha, 18th c.
Add. 18398 Pĕpakĕm, code of Cirebon laws, early 19th c.
Add. 18577 Javanese dictionary and grammar, by John Crawfurd, early 19th c.
Add. 18578 Javanese-English dictionary, 19th c.
Add. 19413 Arabic texts with Javanese glosses, 18th c.
IO Islamic 2446 Texts in Arabic & Javanese, 18th c.
IO Islamic 2448 Texts in Arabic & Javanese, 18th c.
MSS Eur Mack Private 42 Papakem Watugunung, 1812
MSS Eur Mack Private 86.II Vocabulary of English, French, Malay & Javanese, early 19th c.
MSS Jav 1 Niti Praja, 1812
MSS Jav 2 Sewaka, 1812
MSS Jav 3 Nagara Krama
MSS Jav 5 Vocabulary in Javanese, English and Dutch, 1812
MSS Jav 6 Babad Pacina, 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 12 Sukma Ngumbara / Jaya Lengkara Wulang, 1812
MSS Jav 14 Sewaka, 1770
MSS Jav 15 Bratayuda kawi miring, early 19th c.
MSS Jav 16 Serat Rama, early 19th c.
MSS Jav 17 Panji Angreni & Angling Darma, 1804
MSS Jav 18 Paniti Sastra, 1812
MSS Jav 22 Babad Mataram, 1808
MSS Jav 23 Wayang gedog & Bratayuda kawi miring, 18th- early 19th c.
MSS Jav 25 Bharatayuddha, in Old Javanese and modern Javanese, 1812
MSS Jav 29 Babad Jawi, 1812
MSS Jav 30 Suluk, 1740
MSS Jav 31 Sajarah Sumenep, 1812
MSS Jav 40 Babad Kartasura, 1796
MSS Jav 47 Babad ing Narendra, early 19th c.
MSS Jav 48 Kidung Lalembut, late 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 49 Babad Kartasura, 1776
MSS Jav 50 Primbons, 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 51 Serat Ambiya, late 18th c.
MSS Jav 55 Papakem Pawukon [currently missing]
MSS Jav 56 Agama, on mystical speculation, 18th c.
MSS Jav 57 Raja Siyudana, 18th- early 19th c.
MSS Jav 61 Javanese alphabets, etc., 1812
MSS Jav 67 Papakem Watu Gunung, 1812
MSS Jav 68 Panji Jaya Kusuma, 1805
MSS Jav 69 Religious texts, 18th- early 19th c.
MSS Jav 70 Tracts on religious ethics, 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 73 Carita para nabi, late 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 75 Babad, 18th c.
MSS Jav 76 Layang tatamba, 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 77 Primbon, 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 80 Primbon, latte 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 81 Primbon, 18th- early 19th c.
MSS Jav 82 Religious tracts, 18th- early 19th c.
MSS Jav 86 Serat Kanda, late 18th c.
MSS Jav 88 Fragment, 18th- early 19th c.
MSS Jav 90 Kuntara, 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 91 Legendary history, 18th- early 19th c.
MSS Jav 93 Jugul muda etc., 18th- early 19th c.
MSS Jav 94 Dictionary of Javanese ngoko-Javanese krama-Malay-English, early 19th c.
MSS Jav 95 Copy of an Old Javanese inscription of 1134
MSS Jav 96 Copies of Old Javanese inscriptions
MSS Jav 97 Caraka Basa, 1816
MSS Jav 98 Fragments in Javanese, Malay and Arabic, 1814-1815
MSS Jav 99 Surya Alam, 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 100 Family of the Regent of Tuban, 18th-19th c.
MSS Jav 101 Tanah Jawa, 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 102 Carita Wali, 18th-early 19th c.
MSS Jav 104 Serat Wali, 18th-19th c.
Or. 6622 Primbon, 16th-17th c.?
Or. 9333 Wayang drawings, 19th-20th c.
Or. 13523 Works by Kyai Haji Ahmad Rifa’i of Kalisalak, 1845
Or. 13572 Nawala Pradata Dalem, legal texts, 1782-1832
Or. 13576 Serat Anbiya, 1814
Or. 13826 Mahkuta Raja, 1885
Or. 13827 Babad, 1941
Or. 13828 Babad, 19th c.
Or. 13841 Menak story, 19th-20th c.
Or. 13842 Serat Langendriyan, 19th-20th c.
Or. 13843 Serat Cekel Endra-Laya, 19th-20th c.
Or. 15026 Panji romance, 1861
Or. 15932 Papakem pawukon, 1814
Or. 15933 Calligraphy exercises, 1813-1816
Or. 16678 Religious texts in Arabic with interlinear Javanese translation, 19th c.
Or. 16679 Religious texts in Arabic with interlinear Javanese translation, 19th c.
Or. 16878 Religious text in Arabic with interlinear Javanese translation, 19th c.

Blog posts
6 June 2023, Bollinger Javanese Manuscripts Digitisation Project completed
26 September 2022, Frederik Jacob Rothenbühler and his wife as collectors of Javanese manuscripts in the early 19th century, by Prof. Peter Carey
15 Aug 2022, 40 more Javanese manuscripts now accessible online  
16 May 2022, Bollinger Javanese Manuscripts Digitisation Project: 120 more Javanese manuscripts to be digitised 

Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta Digitisation Project (2017-2019)
In 2019, through the support of Mr S P Lohia, 75 Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta now held in the British Library were digitised. The manuscripts (identified by Merle Ricklefs in 1988, see his annotated listing here) comprise 61 taken by British troops following an armed assault on the Palace (Kraton) of Yogyakarta in June 1812 by forces under the command of Thomas Stamford Raffles; nine others believed to be from Yogyakarta, and five possibly from Yogyakarta. At a ceremony at the Kraton of Yogyakarta on 7 March 2019 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the accession to the throne of Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, complete sets of the 30,000 digital images were presented 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), by the British Ambassador to Indonesia, Moazzam Malik.  A full list of the 75 Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta which have been digitised is given below.

Detail of a mermaid canto marker in Serat Jaya Lengkara Wulang, late 18th-early 19th c
Detail of a mermaid canto marker in Serat Jaya Lengkara Wulang, late 18th-early 19th c. British Library, Add 12310, f. 181v 

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


2 May 2022, Three unusual illuminated Javanese manuscripts, by Dr Dick van der Meij, Hamburg
12 April 2021, An enigmatic Javanese manuscript in the British Library: Sĕrat Jaya Lĕngkara, Add 12310, by Dr Dick van der Meij, Hamburg 
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

2017: Presentation of the Javanese Manuscripts from Yogyakarta Digitisation Project to Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X in Yogyakarta, 7 November 2017, with Ambassador Moazzam Malik, Mr S P Lohia and Prof. Peter Carey // 2018: Launch of the Project by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X at the British Library, London, 20 March 2018 // 2019: Presentation of digital files on 7 March 2019 to Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X by British Ambassador Moazzam Malik at a ceremony at the Kraton of Yogyakarta.

DSC_3696  DSC_3688  DSC_3700  DSC_3707  //  Javanese MSS Presentation Project_001  Javanese MSS Presentation Project_032  Javanese MSS Presentation Project_002  Javanese Project 02-crop   //   Img_0lHLjh5   Bek   IMG_0907

Henry D. Ginsburg Legacy Digitisation Projects (2012-2017)
The Legacy of Henry D. Ginsburg (1940-2007) – former curator of Thai, Lao and Cambodian collections in the British Library – enabled the initial digitisation of some of the oldest and most important Indonesian manuscripts in the Library, including those from Java and Bali listed below.

Old Javanese inscription recording the digging of a canal in Pabuharan, ca. 9th c.  British Library, Ind. Ch. 57 (A), f. 1r  

Javanese and Old Javanese

Ind. Ch. 57 Pabuharan inscription, and one other; ca. 9th c. 
MSS Jav 28 Serat Selarasa 
MSS Jav 89 Serat Damar Wulan
MSS Jav 106 Sobhāmṛta inscription, 939, a copy from the 13th-15th c. 
Or 15294 Sermon, in Arabic and Javanese, from Lombok 
Or 16873 Mawlid sharaf al-anam, in Arabic and Javanese, 1864
Sloane MS 1035
Record of a debt, on palm leaf
Sloane MS 1403A Record of a purchase, on palm leaf, ca. 1715
Sloane MS 1403E Record of an account, on bamboo, in Javanese, Lampung and Chinese
Sloane MS 2645 Masa'il al-ta'lim, in Arabic and Javanese, 1623
Sloane MS 3480 Fragment of palm leaf, in Old Javanese

Egerton MS 765 Gold letter from the princes of Badung and Mengwi, 1768
Or. 4942, f. 214 Balinese letter to Mads Johannsen Lange, ca. 1839
Or. 12579 Bagus Umbara, 1928
Or. 12971 Balinese letters from Mads Johannsen Lange, 1852
Or. 14022 Ramayana Kakawin, ca. 1975

Blog posts
20 June 2018: Sir Hans Sloane's Old Javanese manuscript
19 June 2018: Javanese manuscripts in the Sloane collection
20 Dec 2016: Old Javanese copper charters in the British Library
14 April 2016: A gold letter from Bali
1 Dec 2014: Javanese manuscript art: Serat Selarasa
21 Mar 2013: Everyday life in Java in the late 18th century: Serat Damar Wulan
4 Mar 2013: Javanese art in the early 19th century: Serat Selarasa


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