A new catalogue of Minangkabau manuscripts has been published in 2006. This catalogue, edited by M. Yusuf, is a result of the project of catalogization and digitalization conducted in 2004 by the Kelompok Kajian Poetika, the Faculty of Arts, Andalas University of Padang, in collaboration with the C-DATS Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
It’s interesting to note that in the recent 4 years, the C-DATS TUFS has paid a financial support to do preservation of the Indonesian manuscripts, especially through the catalogization and digitalization of them, thanks to Yumi SUGAHARA as the contact person. Since 2004, C-DATS TUFS has published three catalogues of Indonesian manuscripts, namely: Katalog Naskah Palembang (Achadiati Ikram [ed.], 2004), Katalogus Manuskrip dan Skriptorium Minangkabau (M. Yusuf [ed.], 2006), and the most recently is Katalog Naskah Ali Hasjmy Aceh (Fathurahman and Munawar Holil [eds.], 2007).
Instead of presenting only description of manuscripts, the Katalogus Manuskrip dan Skriptorium Minangkabau also names some potential places in Minangkabau, where the tradition of writing manuscripts took place in the past.
This catalogue focuses to include the manuscripts in surau (this term is to name the traditional Islamic education institution in Minangkabau, like pesantren in Java) and in the private collections written commonly in the nineteenth century, which, according to the editor, still can be found in Minangkabau in a huge numbers.
One of the potential places mentioned in this catalogue is Surau Paseban in Koto Tangah, Padang. There are at least 50 manuscripts owned here, mostly those relate to religious issues. Looking at the historical account, this Surau became one of the centers for the dissemination of the Islamic teaching in Minangkabau, where some followers of the Shattariyya Order studied.
Other suraus, whose their manuscripts identified in this catalogue are Surau Parak Pisang in Sumani, district Sepuluh Koto Singkarak Solok, Surau Batang Kabuang in Koto Tangah Padang, Surau Baru Bintungan Tinggi in Pariaman, and Surau Tanjung in Batang Kapeh Pesisir Selatan. Beside manuscripts in suraus, this catalogue also pays attention specifically to include manuscripts in the “Palace” Mandeh Rubiah in Lunang, and in Inderapura, Pesisir Selatan.
The entire content of this catalogue indicates that Minangkabau experienced as one of the centers of the Malay civilization of Islam, beside Aceh, Palembang, Banjarmasin, Patani, Riau, and Java.
Unfortunately, the description regarding the content of each manuscript presented in this catalogue is too simple, and not quiet enough to allow readers to know in more details, it generally contains only one line for each manuscript.
Anyway, this catalogue will be in a great contribution to the academic world, since it has opened access to the manuscripts privately owned, and generally closed to the others. Let me congratulate and salute to Bang Yusuf, in personal, and to the Team, in general, and again thanks to C-DATS TUFS for the mutual collaboration. In special, this catalogue could be regarded as a dedication work for the Late Yusriwal, one of the senior researchers in the Team, who passed away in an accident.
Hopefully, in the future, other catalogues of any kinds of the Indonesian manuscripts could be announced to provide more open access to the manuscripts as our cultural heritage.