National Library Receives Digital Copy of 75 Ancient Manuscripts of British Library Collection
Yogyakarta – The opening of Manuscript Exhibition “Stringing the Traces of Nagari Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Civilisation” was held coinciding with the 30th-year leadership of Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X at Keraton Yogyakarta Stadium on Thursday (7/3). Among 75 manuscripts that have been digitised were given to National Library, Keraton and Regional Library and Archives Office D.I. Yogyakarta from British Library such as literature chronicles ranging from Babad Ngayogyakarta: Hamengku Buwono l dumugi Hamengku Buwono III (1817), Babad Giyanti dumugi Geger Inggrisan Jumenengan HB l (1847), Babad Ngayogyokarta: Hamengku Buwono V, VI, VIl, VIll, to puppet stories, such as Serat Bratayudha dan Serat Ariunasasrabahu were exhibited as proof of intellectual heritage since the era of HB IV to post renaissance during the era of HB V.
Besides the 75 digitised manuscripts of British Library, the exhibition held from 7 March to 7 April 2019 also featured collection of performing arts manuscripts during Sultan HB VII era, such as Serat Kandha Ringgit Tiyang: Lampahan Semar Bayong, Serat Kandha Bedhaya utawi Srimpi, and Serat Pakem Wirama. The Head of Yogyakarta Keraton Manuscript Exhibition Committee, GKR Bendara said that it would also featuring 21 Keraton collections, 2 Pakualaman collections, 2 collections from DIY Library Office, 2 collections from Balai Bahasa. “The collection chosen to be exhibited tonight is collection showing the historical journey and the teaching of Keraton Yogyakarta from the 1st to 9th Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono. This exhibition aims to educate community and reproduce the history of the State of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta so that all can appreciate and remember the historical journey of their nation,” said the fifth daughter of Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X and GKR Hemas.
British Ambassador to Indonesia, Moazzam Malik, on that occasion was very supportive on manuscript preservation efforts since the era of Stamford Raffles which have recorded Javanese history and helped the restoration of Prambanan and Borobudur temples. Moazzam also appreciates British Library in completing big project of 75 ancient manuscripts digitisation in which there are 30,000 digital photos. Those manuscripts that were returned in digital form can also be accessed for free on Keraton, DIY Library and Archives Office and National Library websites. Moazzam hopes that the steps taken can stimulate interest in Javanese history and cultural heritage. “The wealth of Javanese history has been preserved forever online using the latest technology and the most sophisticated techniques from British Library,” he explained.
Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X on that occasion expressed his gratitude and appreciation to both domestic and overseas historians and writers for their attention to Javanese culture and specifically addressed to British Library which has returned digital copy of 75 ancient manuscripts to Keraton Yogyakarta. Thomas Stamford Raffles who reigned in 1811-1816 and its impact can still be felt for hundreds of years up to this day, although leaving agony for Keraton Yogyakara wrote his book History of Java and became the earliest and the most important historical source to understand religious life, culture, customs, and Javanese community rules. “Therefore, I want to add an invitation to understand text, interpret context to build a more dignified future,” said the Sultan.