Academic journal article Journal of Southeast Asian Studies

Babad Arung Bondhan: Javanese Local Historiography; Text Edition and Commentary

Academic journal article Journal of Southeast Asian Studies

Babad Arung Bondhan: Javanese Local Historiography; Text Edition and Commentary

Article excerpt

Indonesia

Babad Arung Bondhan: Javanese local historiography; text edition and commentary

Edited and trans, by Trek PUDJIASTUTI

Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA),

Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2008. Pp. xii + 792. Notes, Appendices,

Glossary, Bibliography, Indexes.

This major work must have required many years of labour by Dr Titik Pudjiastuti, one of Indonesia's leading Javanese philologists. It is a romanisation and translation into English of a manuscript held in the University of Indonesia collection (and once owned by Th. G. Th. Pigeaud, who purchased it in 1932) of very considerable size: 748 pp., containing nearly 3,800 stanzas of Javanese verse. One does not undertake a complete romanisation and translation of something on this scale lightly. Dr Pudjiastuti deserves our thanks for all her work.

The text is particularly interesting because there are grounds for thinking it may be of north coastal origin, whereas most other examples of this kind of work that have been studied so far are of Central Javanese, usually kraton, provenance. It is undated, but probably of nineteenth-century origin, to judge from the Dutch paper that is employed.

The manuscript lacks both its beginning and end; what remains is a version of the sort of pseudo-historical romance about Java's past that is known in different versions in other manuscripts. The story goes from ancient times through the age of Majapahit, thence to the beginnings of Islam in Java and ending with Arya Penangsang. There are tales here of a kind familiar from such texts: great battles, court intrigues, love affairs, magical beasts and persons, Panji stories, a Baron Sakhender-like tale, Siti Jenar and so on. There are chronogram dates given in the text, often differing from what is found in other sources. None of them is to be regarded as having any actual historical validity, of course. …

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