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04 Jul 2019

Get to Know Illumination, the Script Decorator

Medan Merdeka Selatan, Jakarta – Illumination or generally called picture in ancient manuscript is created to decorate manuscript so that it has an appeal. At first, illumination was used in the form of gold plating on several archipelago ancient manuscript pages. According to intermediate researcher of Language and Book Development Agency of Ministry of Education and Culture, Mu’jiza, illumination in archipelago manuscript refers to the technical term in manuscript science, specifically to the pictures decorating manuscript. Usually, illuminations appear on front page.    

“Gold is forged into a very thin plate it can be used to decorate. Then it could also be formed into a sprinkling of gold. Well, the gold sprinkle is used as texts with high social status. Because manuscript at that time could be used as a reward for diplomacy between upper class officials,” explained Mu’jiza as a speaker in Archipelago Manuscript Discussion with theme “Illumination in Archipelago Manuscripts” at Mini Theater Room of National Library Service Facilities Building, Jakarta on Thursday (4/7).

According to this Malay manuscript expert, picture that becomes manuscript decoration consists of four things, namely illumination, illustration, rubric, and initial. In Indonesia, illuminations are found in various manuscripts throughout several regions. "In Javanese literature there is Serat Arjuna Wijaya, Malay literature Hikayat Iskandar Zulkarnain, Sundanese literature Interview with Abdul Kadir Jaelani, Bugis literature in Lontarak Paburra, Bali, and Batak manuscripts in the War Magic Book," she explained.

Mu'jiza explained the illuminations displayed in ancient manuscripts represent culture of the local community. Based on her observations, illumination of Malay manuscripts first appeared in the 1650s in the letters of Sultan Iskandar Muda. "The tradition in Malay is not yet too old, maybe in Makassar it can be even older because I La Galigo is a lot older," she explained.

Illumination has five functions, namely to beautify the text, clarify the text, uncover the history of manuscript, uncover the history of painting, and the diversity of motifs or pictures including their meanings. "Usually the text is written first by author or copyist. Then the illumination is created by illuminator in the form of a sketch and later coloured," she explained.

According to Mu'jiza there are still many manuscripts of archipelago that have not been worked on. Therefore, she invites youngsters to explore this. "Because they must continue the cultural wealth that became ancestral heritage. This is the proof of Indonesian people’s intelligence," she concluded.

 

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