351 Manuscript Bundles from Three Regions in West Sumatra Preserved

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DREAMSEA, Padang – On this manuscript preservation mission in West Sumatra, Indonesia, DREAMSEA visited three regions that have hundreds of ancient manuscripts. The three regions are Padang, Pesisir Selatan and Tarusan. The mission was carried out from 11 February-17 March 2022 in collaboration with the Manassa of Padang led by Dr. Pramono.

351 bundles of the manuscript were preserved from three different collections, namely the Chairul collection (102 manuscripts), Rakena collection (18 manuscripts), and Achmad Kosasih collection (231 manuscripts). The total digital images produced are more than 27,000 pages.

Most of the manuscripts are written on paper in Arabic, Malay, and Minangkabau with Arabic and Jawi characters. Some manuscripts have beautiful illuminations on their pages. The contents of the text are generally in the form of Islamic teachings such as fiqh, monotheism, the story of the prophet, and Sufism.

This condition is similar to the manuscripts that are usually kept in the collections of suraus in West Sumatra. With the existence of hundreds of Islamic texts, it can be quite a sign that in these three regions the spread of Islamic teachings is quite common.

Pramono shared his thoughts on the obligations of the present heir of these manuscripts and what steps should be taken. “Our task now is of course to use it for today’s life. From an academic point of view, the diversity of manuscripts certainly has the potential for research in various disciplines,” he said.

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