Sunday, August 5, 2018

Tanjung Tanah Code of Law

The Tanjung Tanah manuscript is a code of law issued by the King of Dharmasraya to his vassals in Kerinci.

When the Dutch scholar Petrus Voorhoeve visited the Sumatran regency of Kerinci in April, and again in July 1941, he encountered a manuscript in the village of Tanjung Tanah that was exceptional in that it was not, as most of the manuscripts found in Kerinci, written on buffalo horn or paper, but on a kind of paper manufactured from the bark of the paper mulberry tree (Broussonetia papyrifera Vent.), which under the name dluwang was a common writing media in Java.

Being the oldest Malay manuscript currently known ( ca.fourteenth or early fifteenth century),this codex is to be regarded as a tremendously important document of pre-Islamic Malay literary culture. It was issued by the royal court of Dharmasraya, also known as the Malayu kingdom, to provide the land of Kerinci with a legal code.

It begins with a number of opening sentences in Sanskrit, in which the manuscript is dated to the Waisyak months of an unfortunately illegible Saka year. The manuscript also concludes with a few sentences in Sanskrit where the ruler, Paduka Ari Maharaja Dharmasaraya, is mentioned alongside with the fact that the code of law is intended for the entire land of Kerinci.

With the discovery of Tanjung Tanah manuscript, for the frost it is the definite evidence that the Malay already possessed a manuscript tradition that goes back to at least the 14th century. It is an important, milestone in the reconstruction of literacy in the Malay World.
Tanjung Tanah Code of Law

The most popular articles