A journey to search my soul

This is a blog of my personal collections. The purpose of this blog is to educate myself and public in regards to antiquities especially related to religion and calligraphy. I welcome everyone to input their feedback in this blog which they think would be helpful. I do not watermark the photos in this blog so everyone is free to use them as long as they are not used for illegal and unethical reasons. I appreciate if you could notify me if you plan to use any of the photos here. Enjoy browsing!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ancient Coin Review 47 : Sultanah Taj Alam ( Aceh Sultanate 1641-1675 CE)

This is a gold coin from Sultanah Taj Alam Safiat AdDin Shah era. She is the first female to be throned in Aceh Sultanate. She was a widow of Sultan Iskandar Thani. She reigned Aceh from 1641 - 1675 CE.

Obv: Safiat Ad Din Berdaulat Shah
Rev: Paduka Sri Sultanah Taj Alam
Weight : 0.59 gm
Dim : 1641 - 1675 CE
Rarity :
Denom : Mas
Material : Gold
Reference : A 17a pg 177 ( Jaarboek Voor Munt-en Penningkunde)

Ancient Manuscript Review 64 : Antique Moroccon / Maghribi Quran ( 1270 AH)

This is an old handwritten Quran originally from Morocco dated 1270 AH which is equivalent to 1853 CE. .It is a complete Quran. It was written in a simple Maghribi calligraphy. This Quran has a colophone on the last leaf mentioning the copyist name of Sayed Bir  Muhammad Anzud. The cover was original and made of leather.

Manuscript Specs

Item : Antique Morocco Quran
Content : A complete Quran
Dim : 9" x 7" x 2"
Date : 1270 AH ( 1853 CE)
Copyist : Sayed Bir Muhammad Anzud
Origin : Morocco
Calligraphy : Maghribi
Design : 18 lines written in Maghribi script without border
Purchased Price :US

Ancient Coin Review 46 : Sultan Aladin Ibn Firman Shah ( Aceh Sultanate 1589 - 1604 CE)

This is a gold coin from Sultan Aladin Riayat Shah era. He was the aged grandson of Sultan Muzaffar Shah and the son of Al Malik Firman Shah. He killed the grandson of Sultan Aladin Mansur Shah, the son of SUltan Abdul Jalil Shah of Johore. This created a tension between Aceh & Johore.It's narrated by John Davis in his journal in 1599 CE that Sultan Aladin originally was a fisherman. He reigned Aceh from 1589 - 1604 CE.

Obv: As Sultan Al Adil
Rev: Aladin Ibn Firman Shah
Weight : 0.59 gm
Dim : 13mm
Date : 1589 - 1604 CE
Rarity :
Denom : Mas
Material : Gold
Reference : A 13b pg 170 ( Jaarboek Voor Munt-en Penningkunde)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ancient Artifact Review 07: Antique Malacca Kendi / Kettle ( 14th century)

These are museum piece antiquity from Majapahit Era but found in Malacca ( Malaysia). They are clay kendi (kettle) . They are used to contain water normally a holy water for a ritual ceremony. Its diameter about 3 to 4" inches with height of 2 to 3" inches.
I would date these kendis sometime in 14th century. The reason because Malacca prior to 1409 CE was a Hindu state i.e one of Majapahit's vassal. However when the first Malacca ruler Parameswara married to a princess of Pasai sultan, he became Muslim and almost entire population in Malacca became Muslim as well. Hence the locals must have not continued using these kendis after 1409 CE as they are practically used for Hindu ceremony.

Ancient Artifact Review 06 : Antique British Iron Cannon ( 19th Century)

This is an old iron cannon recovered from Malacca Strait. It belonged to British army during the colonization era 19th century. It is made of iron and weighs about 500lb. It has 9" breech and 4.35" muzzle with a 2.5" bore. There is an excellent deep iton colored patina. Museum piece.

Ancient Artifact Review 05 : Antique Malay Jawi Plate (1819-1864 CE)

This is a priceless antique English plate decorated with Malay / Jawi motif & pantun (poems). This plate was manufactured by Williams Adams & Sons company sometime between 1819 CE to 1864 CE. This company was established in the early nineteenth century and great supplier of wares to India & the Far East. The trademark can be seen at the bottom of this plate, written W. Adams And Son under a medallion inside which is inscribed the name of the motif viz MALAY.
"The plate was printed using the process of transfer-printing, which was first used in England around 1750. The design is engraved on a metal plate, then impressed on a thin piece of paper, and transferred to the surface of the pottery or porcelain."

The pantun inscribed on the rims written :
" Suka makan di piring ini,
suatu di ambil dengan jankanya,
kalau suka membeli piring begini,
Anderson Tolson oleh yang punya"

Anderson Tolson is probably a retailing firm in Batavia.
The pantun inscribed 8 lines converging to the centre written :

1) Jikalau boleh kita ingatkan
2) Tertib dan sopan baik kerjakan
3) Jalan istiadat dipeliharakan
4) Supaya jangan membinasakan
5) Tertib suatu itu penghulu
6) Kerna pakaian orang dahulu
7) Barang pekerjaan benar terlalu
8) Masyhur namanya orang pun malu

There is an interesting research & article written by Henri Chambert-Loir from Almanac Indonesia & The Malay World in regards to the this type of plate. It was quite extensive research and dug further to its origin and its design. The handwriting print on this plate belongs to Khatib Muharis. Even though his name is not printed on this plate, there are others with the same handwriting bearing his name. Diameter of this plate is 27cm
Nonetheless the article doesnt have any reference to the 8 poem lines in my plate. Does it mean the plate is rare? If you find any similar plate with the same 8 poetic lines anywhere, please let me know. I would be interested where else has the same plate.

Also thanks to A.N for helping me out figuring out some indechiperable words on this plate.

Reference :
Eating the text : English plates decorated with Malay poems, by Henri Chambert-Loir ( published in Indonesia & The Malay World 1994)

Crescent Moon : Islamic Art & Civilisation South East Asia, pg 78

Ancient Artifact Review 04 : Antique Arabic Brass Key ( 1158 AH)

This is an antique giant brass key dated 1158 AH ( 1745 CE). There is also an arabic inscription of the owner as "Muhammad Bin Muhammad Halabi". Origin is Syria. Dimension is 24cm long & 9 cm width with weight of 340gram. This key probably was a house or a shop key.

Ancient Artifact Review 03 : Antique Tang Bronze Mirror ( 7-10th Century)

This is an antique bronze mirror from Tang Dynasty ( 618-906 CE). I acquired it from an antique shop in Vietnam during my work assignment there almost 10 years ago.

Diameter: 12cm (4 ¾ in).
Similar item with better condition was sold at USD3750 at Christie's in June 2011

References: (a) Masterpieces of Chinese Bronze Mirrors in the National Palace Museum Published by the National Palace Museum Taipei, Taiwan, (b) Later Chinese Bronzes by Rose Kerr, (c) Ancient Chinese bronzes by William Watson. (d) Circles of Reflection, The Carter Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors, (e) Bronze Mirrors From Ancient China Donald H .Graham Jr. Collection

Ancient Artifact Review 02 : Antique Majapahit Kendi / Kettle ( 14th Century)

This is a museum piece antiquity from Majapahit Era ( Old Hindu Kingdom in Indonesia). Its a clay kendi (kettle) from 14th century. It is used to contain water normally a holy water for a ritual ceremony.  Its diameter about 5-1/2" inches with height of 4-1/2" inches. Majaphit Empire reigned from 1293 CE till circa 1500 CE.

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia :

" Majapahit was a vast thalassocratic archipelagic empire based on the island of Java (modern-day Indonesia) from 1293 to around 1500. Majapahit reached its peak of glory during the era of Hayam Wuruk, whose reign from 1350 to 1389 marked by conquest which extended through Southeast Asia. His achievement is also credited to his prime minister, Gajah Mada. According to the Nagarakretagama (Desawarñana) written in 1365, Majapahit was an empire of 98 tributaries, stretching from Sumatra to New Guinea; consisting of present day Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, the Philippines, and East Timor, although the true nature of Majapahit sphere of influence is still the subject of studies among historians.
Majapahit was one of the last major empires of the region and is considered to be one of the greatest and most powerful empires in the history of Indonesia and Southeast Asia, one that is sometimes seen as the precedent for Indonesia's modern boundaries. Its influence extended beyond the modern territory of Indonesia and has been the subject of many studies.German orientalist Berthold Laufer suggested that maja came from the Javanese name of an Indonesian tree. "

Ancient Artifact Review 01 : Antique Brunei / Borneo Kettle ( 1296 AH)

This is a museum piece antiquity from Borneo island. Its a bronze kettle with arabic calligraphy of the Hijra year. Origin is brunei or southern Phillipine. Normally this kettle is used to boil medicines. It is typical used among Malays. Date inscipted is 1296 AH equivalent to 1878 CE. Similar kettle can be seen in National Museum of Malaysia.
Reference document : Islamic Civilization In The Malay World by Mohd Taib Osman, pg 334

 Spec :

Dim : Diameter: 14 cm / 5.5 inches Height: 15 cm / 5.9 inches Width(largest point): 18 cm / 7.1 inches
Weight: 1.8 kg / 3.9 lb

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ancient Manuscript Review 63 : Antique Quran Lithography Block ( 19-20th Century)

This is a lithography / printing block of a Quranic page. Acquired from Iran a few years ago. Material is made of metal. Probably from 19th-20th century.Dimension 14.5x6x2.5cm.

Ancient Manuscript Review 62 : Antique Malay Quran Manuscript ( 19th century)

This is a written Quran manuscript originated from South East Asia. Its believed to have been written in 19th century. Few pages of these manuscripts were damaged due to ages. Some pages are missing, water stained and torn especially at bottom page near the spine. Hard cover with red fabric cover. Back cover with a flap is loose.Written in coarse Naskhi script in black ink on beige paper, 13 lines to a page. All headings are written in faded brown ink with every “ayah” or verses are separated by small black circle.
I acquired this manuscript from a friend in Indonesia quite a while ago.

Manuscript Specs

Item : Antique Quran Manuscript
Content : Quran
Dim : 33x21cmx7cm
Date : 19th century
Copyist : anonymous
Origin : South East Asia
Calligraphy : Malay ?
Design : Written in Malay scripts in red & black
Purchased Price :US

Antique Manuscript Review 61 : Antique Malay Islamic Fiqh Manuscript ( 19th Century)

This is a written manuscript about Islamic Fiqh originated from South East Asia. Its believed to have been written in 19th century. Few pages of these manuscripts were damaged due to ages.
I acquired this manuscript from a friend in Indonesia quite a while ago.

Manuscript Specs

Item : Antique Malay Manuscript
Content : Islamic Fiqh
Dim :  34 x 21cm
Date : 19th century
Copyist : anonymous
Origin : South East Asia
Calligraphy : Malay ?
Design : Written in Malay scripts in red & black with explanation in Javanese language
Purchased Price :US

Ancient Manuscript Review 60 : Antique Lithographed Sultan Johor's Leisure Boat ( 1851 CE)

This is a lithographed print from 1851CE "The Illustrated London News". The print depicting the leisure boat of Sultan Johor.