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Khazanah Naskah: Introduction


Henri Chambert-Loir and Oman Fathurahman

Jakarta: YOI and EFEO, 1999

Beside the other great treasures of Indonesia's cultural heritage, manuscripts tend to be ignored. Manuscripts are commonly looked at as the texts which they contain, hence as the domain of a very limited circle of specialists, librarians and philologists. As products of traditions that involve a wide range of competences and social behaviours, the scope and meaning of manuscripts is actually far more important and they deserve to be considered from many points of view: not only as library items or as texts, which are studied by codicologists and philologists, but also from a technical point of view, especially the process of making manuscripts out of rontal leaves, bark or paper.

The aesthetic aspect is no less interesting: a great number of manuscripts contain beautiful illustrations which are however seldom mentioned in studies about the history of Indonesian plastic arts. The recently published book Illuminations (see Kumar & McGlynn 1996 in the Bibliography) provides lavish proof that the arts of drawing and painting have a long history of development and refinement in Indonesia. Yet another aspect of manuscripts that is still poorly studied is the variety of scripts which have been used in Indonesia across the centuries, be it scripts of Indian type or Arabic and Latin scripts: we still know very little about the development and the spread of the scripts used in Sumatra prior to the coming of Islam for instance (that of Old-Malay inscriptions from the Sriwijaya period, the rencong, Rejang and Lampung syllabic writings of South Sumatra, and the Batak script of North Sumatra).

The manuscripts domain is actually even wider. Whoever is familiar with Indonesian manuscripts knows that they contain an unfathomable wealth of information. Manuscripts contain much more than literature taken in the narrow sense; they include as well material relating to many other disciplines like religion, history, law, customs, medicine, technology and a lot more. Specialists of these various fields should be able to make use of this wealth of information. Jurists and historians have long been aware of this but they tend to make use of text editions prepared by philologists, while legions of unpublished manuscripts lie unused. At best these can be known in limited ways through the use of catalogues.

The manuscripts in existence today, tens of thousands in number, are difficult to locate and to investigate. Catalogues are supposed to give access to them, but catalogues themselves number in the hundreds and are not always easily accessible. The simple intent of the present book is to provide specialists of various disciplines with the necessary tools to approach and peruse the wealth of Indonesian manuscripts. Moreover the best catalogues are not limited to the description of manuscripts. In the case of some languages (Acehnese, Buginese and Makasarese for instance), catalogues are the best discourse existing on the relevant literatures. Even in the field of Malay and Javanese literatures, the best catalogues (we can mention as examples Pigeaud 1967-1980, Behrend [ed.] 1990, Florida 1993, Lindsay et al. 1994, Behrend & Pudjiastuti [eds.] 1997, and Wieringa 1998) are far more comprehensive than any other book.

Indonesian manuscripts are now spread all over the world. A great number of them are to be found in the Netherlands and in Great Britain for obvious historical reasons, but there are manuscripts in Germany, France, Russia and in many other countries as well. This dispersion itself has a historical meaning. A few collections are linked to Indonesian communities abroad. This is the case of the collections which are to be found in South Africa and in Sri Lanka: some manuscripts were brought from Indonesia and others copied or written by the Indonesian migrants (or exiles) who settled in those two countries. All other collections are the fruit of a cultural contact of some sort: most of the (mainly Batak) manuscripts that found their way to Germany were collected by German missionaries working in North Sumatra starting with the middle of the last century; others were collected by the German private teacher of the Dutch Governor-General in Buitenzorg (Bogor) around 1850. The small but valuable collection held at the Library of Congress in Washington was acquired by an American expedition in Singapore in 1842. As a last example, the collection held by the French National Library in Paris was originally set up by a French scholar who had learned Malay in London in 1845. For that reason, we have tried to collect information about the origin and the history of the main collections and we did our best to mention every single collection, however small it might be. However we have not as a rule reported on private collections, first of all because these collections are difficult to locate, so that the information we might be able to provide would probably be without proportion with the real number of the collections, and also because many private collectors might not give their consent.

As regards foreign collections, what has proved most surprising is not the fact that manuscripts should have been taken abroad in large numbers, but on the contrary that there are so many countries which have enjoyed important historical links with Indonesia which seem to have insignificant numbers – or even none at all – of manuscripts from the archipelago. To the best of our knowledge, there are virtually no Indonesian manuscripts in Portugal, in the countries of the Middle East, in India, China and Japan. This statement may be based on a lack of proper information and we hope that the endeavour undertaken in this book will be carried further on little by little until all collections of Indonesian manuscripts in the world are mapped.

A comprehensive knowledge of all collections is indeed necessary. Not only do philologists need to know all manuscripts of one text in order to work out the best edition of it, but it frequently happens that a unique manuscript is held in a foreign or an obscure collection. Let us quote as examples the very rare manuscript of the Malay Hikayat Patani kept in the Library of Congress or the copy of one chapter of the Bustanus Salatin held in a South African library, or again a few unique manuscripts coming from a Batavia lending library at the beginning of the century which are now in Saint Petersburg.

From another point of view the knowledge of a variety of collections may enhance our understanding of a specific writing tradition. The biggest and best known collections (especially those of Leiden University Library and the Indonesian National Library) have been built up by the colonial government with a certain vision of culture and for that reason differ from the collections set up by Indonesian collectors, most importantly those of several palaces (on that subject see Behrend 1988 and Florida 1993). Private collections of interested individuals are different again: very small, often amounting to a handful of manuscripts, and reflecting the main interests of rural society, mainly Islam and local history, as one can observe from the few catalogues already published as well as the collections that a few establishments like the Aceh National Museum and the National Library of Malaysia have constituted during the last 15 years by buying manuscripts of that kind.

The present book aims to identify all institutions that possess manuscript collections, evaluate those collections and introduce every kind of description published about them. This requires a few explanations. By “manuscripts” we mean all hand-written documents belonging to the Indonesian traditional world, that is to say before the so-called “modern” period around the turn of the century. Modern manuscripts like those kept at Jakarta National Archives or at the famous H.B. Jassin literary documentation are not under consideration here. This definition is not tight however, as the boundary between traditional and modern is extremely vague. Archival documents from the past, letters and contracts for instance, are commonly considered as traditional manuscripts according to chronological criteria; on the other hand, traditional texts (Malay hikayat, Sundanese wawacan, Old-Javanese kakawin, etc.) written in this century are also “traditional manuscripts” according to literary criteria; whereas manuscripts recently copied in a traditional way (hundreds of Islamic manuscripts copied by hand in the Arabic script) also belong to our domain according to scribal criteria. In a newly published catalogue of manuscripts from West Java (Ekadjati & Darsa 1999) are listed a wealth of manuscripts copied right up to the 1980s; the “traditional” world does indeed pervade the “modern” one.

The adjective “Indonesian” itself needs some clarification. We mean all languages that have been used in Indonesia in written form in the past. Written cultures of Indonesia are fairly well known but the question of their number cannot be easily answered as it depends on the definition of the languages under consideration. People commonly speak of “Batak literature” for instance, while there is no such a thing as one “Batak language”.

The division of the manuscript domain into 18 chapters below relies on various criteria: some chapters (aceh and melayu for instance) are clear linguistic categories; in the jawa and sunda chapters however, no distinction is made between old and modern languages for the reason that none is usually made in manuscripts catalogues; the same applies to Buginese and Makasarese which are two different languages from South Sulawesi; and each of the three chapters about Balinese, Sasak and South Sumatran languages actually considers manuscripts in various languages linked by a common provenance. Even manuscripts written in one language may display an important regional variation: specialists of Javanese literature usually make a distinction between manuscripts originating from Central Java, East Java and the North coast, but Javanese manuscripts were also written outside the Javanese cultural area proper (in West Java, Palembang and in the islands of Madura, Bali and Lombok) and show strong local variations in language, script, illustrations, and even in types of contents.

Two more chapters (kalimantan and Eastern Indonesia) are devoted to a number of regional languages which have no writing traditions but are found in manuscript form as the result of notations written down by outside observers. This kind of information has been compiled here, even though it does not properly belong to the domain of Indonesian manuscripts, because it is to be found in the catalogues we are dealing with. However we did not aim at any systematic inventory in this respect: information about manuscripts from Nias mentioned in Ricklefs & Voorhoeve 1977 and Behrend (ed.) 1998 will not be mentioned here.

From a quantitative point of view, writing traditions vary considerably: there are tens of thousands of Javanese and Malay manuscripts when there are only dozens of them in languages like Wolio and Ternate. Each of them will be considered separately as they represent distinct traditions.

Apart from Austronesian languages, three chapters are devoted to foreign literatures which are intimately linked to Indonesian cultural history as they have been extensively used in Indonesia and even by Indonesians, namely Sanskrit, Arabic and Dutch. Sanskrit has been used for centuries in the fields of religion and literature in Sumatra, Java and Bali. It is generally to be found in manuscripts in combination with Old-Javanese and Kawi. Arabic was even more widely spread over the archipelago and is still to be found in thousands of Islamic manuscripts, either on its own or in combination with an Indonesian language (mainly Malay, Javanese or Sundanese). It goes without saying that Sanskrit and Arabic manuscripts written in Indonesia or by Indonesians belong to the domain of Indonesian manuscripts; the case of Dutch is clearly different as it has never been part of the traditional writing traditions that are the subject of the present book.

The chapter about Dutch manuscripts merely intends to gather information about Dutch documents which happen to be kept in Indonesian manuscript collections (as in the National Library of Indonesia or the Faculty of Letters of the University of Indonesia for instance). We were not able to collect any significant information about Chinese manuscripts written by the community of Indonesians of Chinese origin, whereas such manuscripts should most probably exist.

As regards the descriptions of manuscripts, they vary considerably from one another, from mere lists to lengthy catalogues. In that respect we have tried to be comprehensive, even though some descriptions have elsewhere been shown to be faulty or out of date, so that readers might decide for themselves what is relevant and what is not. Catalogues are more and more numerous but new ones are not always better than old ones and even a bad manuscript description can contain valuable information. On the other hand we did not list text editions (even though they often describe manuscripts with more details than any catalogue) as they do not deal with collections but with a few manuscripts originating from various collections.

A few endeavours have already been undertaken at listing all manuscript catalogues in specific fields. Among the most noteworthy may be quoted Hooykaas et al. 1950, Chambert-Loir 1980 (Malay catalogues) , Van der Molen 1984 (Javanese catalogues), Ibrahim bin Ismail 1986a (Southeast Asian catalogues) and Tol 1993 (Islamic manuscripts). Other writers have listed manuscripts in one geographical area, like Pearson 1954, 1971, National 1959 and Howard 1966, while a few bibliographies, mainly Kemp 1990, 1998, include catalogue references. However this book represents the first attempt at covering all collections of manuscripts in all Indonesian languages; as a consequence of being perhaps too ambitious, it may have many flaws; however it seems useful to consider all Indonesian writing traditions altogether as they are in reality linked by a multiplicity of ties: many areas have produced texts in various languages (for instance Acehnese, Malay and Arabic texts in Aceh; Malay, Javanese and Arabic texts in Palembang; Sundanese, Javanese, Arabic and Malay texts in West Java, etc.), many manuscripts are bilingual (usually Arabic plus an Indonesian language) and many kinds of influences and borrowings have played a role between one tradition and another.

The work accomplished in the field on Indonesian manuscripts during the last twenty years is tremendous. We know of the deeds of scholars of the past: among many famous names, suffice it to mention those of C. Hooykaas, Poerbatjaraka, Th. Pigeaud and P. Voorhoeve. C. Hooykaas’ efforts to preserve manuscripts as well as the truly extraordinary amount of catalogues produced by P. Voorhoeve might never been equalled, but it is a fact that a new generation of philologists has risen that is more inclined to work on the basis of international cooperation and which has the benefit of computer technology.

Among the achievements of the last two decades is the production of microfilms aiming at the preservation of texts from destruction, while enhancing interlibrary exchange facilities. In 1980-1982 a team from Cornell University made films of the main collections in Surakarta; then from 1985 to 1994, the main collections of Yogyakarta, that of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Indonesia and that of the National Library of Indonesia were filmed thank to grants from the Ford Foundation. Privately owned manuscripts in the provinces of West Java and South Sulawesi were filmed as well. (About these various programs, see Feinstein 1996.) Not only do these microfilming programs preserve texts, which can still be read on films even if the manuscripts get lost or destroyed (and there are already examples of this), but they also have made the easy duplication and dissemination of those texts possible while at the same time producing new catalogues of the relevant collections.

These catalogues are more and more comprehensive and rigorous. We may mention as examples the two new series that appeared during that period, namely the Manuscript Bibliography Series (Siri Bibliografi Manuskrip) published by the Manuscripts Centre of the National Library of Malaysia and the Union Catalogue of Indonesian Manuscripts (Katalog Induk Naskah-naskah Nusantara) published in Jakarta under the direction of T.E. Behrend. Five catalogues have appeared in that second series (Behrend [ed.] 1990, 1998, Lindsay et al. 1994, Behrend & Pudjiastuti [eds.] 1997, and Ekadjati & Darsa 1999, soon to be followed by PaEni [forthcoming]); some of them are so excellent and detailed that they provide exemplary models for new catalogues in the future. Apart from the fact that they are comprehensive and complete with extremely useful indices and lists of cantos for poetic texts, they offer the additional advantage of being written in Indonesian.

Another achievement of the microfilming and cataloguing programs realised at the National Library of Indonesia during the 1990s is the initialisation of a data base (named Danatara) about Indonesian manuscripts in a number of collections; this data base might develop into a revolutionary tool for the study of Indonesian manuscripts world wide.

The series produced by the National Library of Malaysia is also of a high standard beside being very productive. The Manuscripts Centre opened in Kuala Lumpur in 1985 has set as one of its goals to inventory all Malay manuscripts in the world; until now catalogues of manuscripts in Malaysia, Singapore, the Netherlands, France, Germany, South Africa and Washington have already been published.

Outside the Malay world, a similar activity has developed, albeit at a slower pace; see for instance the series devoted to manuscripts kept in Germany (Verzeichnis der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutsch­land), the general catalogue of Acehnese manuscripts produced by P. Voorhoeve (Voorhoeve et al. 1994), or the two new catalogues of Malay manuscripts in the Netherlands (Wieringa 1998 and Iskandar [forthcoming]).

This thriving activity goes together with new developments in the field of philology in Indonesia. This appears clearly from the handbooks now available for students (see Baried 1994, Lubis 1996, Mulyadi 1994, Robson 1994 and Sudjiman 1995, in addition to the book Illuminations [Kumar & McGlynn 1996], an Indonesian edition of which is under preparation) and from the creation of the Manassa society (Masyarakat Pernaskahan Indonesia; Indonesian Manuscript Society) which is based at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Indonesia and organises international seminars on Indonesian philology on a regular basis.

The present book will hopefully be one more tool for students and researchers. A few things need to be explained about its organisation. Manuscript collections are discussed in 18 chapters according to their language. In each chapter they are introduced by country and by city or state in alphabetical order. All bibliographical references are compiled at the end of the book. (The bibliography observes the Indonesian, Malaysian and Western name orders according to the origin of the authors.) In addition to this, all journals referred to in the bibliography are listed separately and an index of all institutions holding manuscripts refer to the chapters where these institutions are mentioned.

Each chapter starts with a short introduction in which a few among the main references regarding literature and codicology in the relevant language are mentioned. Similarly, a “general” rubric (umum) will be found at the beginning of the paragraphs concerning some countries or provinces; this rubric may contain information regarding six matters: (1) general remarks about the collections; (2) scriptoria that were once in existence; (3) manuscripts of unknown location; (4) manuscripts which have been mentioned (when sold for instance) but the eventual fate of which is unknown; (5) private collections; (6) general catalogues.

The compilation of the present book was actually planned a long time ago. After publishing a list of Malay catalogues in 1980, H. Chambert-Loir discussed the idea with a few specialists of other literatures. We are very grateful to Petrus Voorhoeve who in 1986 was kind enough to answer our multiple questions and to set up a critical list of Acehnese and Batak manuscripts that has actually become the basis of the aceh and batak chapters below. Similarly Campbell C. Macknight provided information about catalogues of Buginese and Makasarese manuscripts. At the beginning of the 1980s too we gathered much valuable information and advice from Willem van der Molen and Russell Jones about Javanese and Malay catalogues respectively. To these four scholars we extend our sincere gratitude for their generosity and their patience.

When long afterwards this book was being compiled, we received a wealth of data, assistance and suggestions from so many people that we cannot possibly mention their names one by one. We wish to thank heartily all the institutions that were helpful enough to answer our requests about their collections, as well as all the individuals whom we asked for an address, a book reference and all kinds of information about Indonesian literatures and manuscripts. Among those who were more regularly solicited than others we wish to express our gratitude to F. Barrès-Kotobi, Mark Durie, Herman Kemp, Michael Laffan, Jennifer Lindsay, Merle Ricklefs, Rosemary Robson, Marie-Odette Scalliet and Peter Worsley. The mention of their names here is in no way proportional to the assistance they provided. They have been the victims of e-mail technology; in many cases the queries we sent world wide were the occasion to experience the potentiality of a spontaneous international cooperation.

At the time the book was almost completed we asked a few scholars to read, correct and improve various chapters. Thank to their help we were saved from many mistakes and omissions. Tim Behrend, Th. C. Van der Meij and Raechelle Rubinstein provided invaluable improvements to the jawa, bali and sasak chapters; Jean Couteau went on search for obscure Balinese catalogues; Roger Tol and Uli Kozok scrutinised the bugis and batak chapters and offered a wealth of helpful remarks; Edwin Wieringa and Annabel T. Gallop took the time to go through the melayu chapter and improved it considerably; Alexander Ogloblin provided data about Russian collections which were until now unknown outside Russia. Our debt towards them is considerable. We thank them warmly and apologise for all the flaws which are most probably still to be found in the book.

Just before its publication, the book still benefited from the help of more people: Achadiati Ikram and Sri Sukesih Adiwimarta read a draft very carefully from a linguistic point of view and provided many corrections and improvements. Penny Mann offered professional advice about the visual presentation of the book. Ade Pristie Wahyo typed in innumerable corrections and took care of the layout. We are very grateful to the four of them for having shared their time and their expertise for the sake of completion of this book. We also wish to thank very heartily the Lontar Foundation in Jakarta for having given us the liberty to select the illustrations below among the hundreds of magnificent pictures they have of Indonesian manuscripts.

Last but not least, we thank Tim Behrend who was kind enough to edit the English version of this introduction. This English introduction to an Indonesian book is intended for people interested in Indonesian manuscripts but not able to read Indonesian, as it is the intention of this book to give access to the world of Indonesian manuscripts to students of various disciplines and origins.

2 Kommentare:

Anonymous said...

for your information....i have recently visit mangkunegaran palace,they had a lot islamic manuscript and mostly talking about java sufisme

Anonymous said...

Hi, Darma, yes we mentioned also in this Book, there are three places in Surakarta that preserved a huge number of manuscripts, namely Reksa Pustaka Library in Mangkunagaran Palace, Sasana Pustaka Library in Keraton Kasunanan, and Radyapustaka Museum. Anyway, many thanks for your comments and information regarding the Java sufism manuscripts.