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, May 21, 2019

Ancient Manuscript Review 205 : Antique Malay jawi Handwritten Manuscript ( 18th Century)

This is a large manuscript without cover written in Malay language in Jawi. Acquired from Sarawak Borneo.

Manuscript Specs

Item : Antique Malay Islamic Jurisprudence
Manuscript Content : Islamic Jurisprudence
DIM : 35cm x 20cm
Date : 18th Century CE
Copyist : anonymous
Origin : South East Asia
Calligraphy : Malay -Naskh
Design : Written in Malay-Naskh scripts in black and red
Purchased Price : USD

Antique Coin Review 119 : Pohon Katun ( Hexagonal Tin Cash tree) - 16th Century of Johor Sultanate

This is a complete “tree” of coins from Johore Empire Era ( 16th-19th Century).
 Johor is located in the southern tip of Peninsular of Malaysia as well as the most southern point of the Asian Continent. The name of Johor originated from the Arabic word Jawhar which means jewel. It is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Takzim ( Abode of Dignity). The Sultanate of Johor was founded by Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II , the son of exiled last Sultan of Malacca ( Sultan Mahmud Shah) in 1528 CE. Johor was part of Malaccan Sultanate prior to Malacca occupation by Portuguese in 1511 CE.

This is a rare piece as I haven’t seen such a thing in Malaysian museums yet ( probably I haven’t explored enough).
Let me provide some insights of this “tree”. During the era of Johor Sultanate, tin coins or “Katuns” as they were known, were minted in a variety of shapes and sizes for use in the local markets. Some of these circular, others hexagonal or octagonal. A few of them carried full inscriptions indicating that they were intended for Johor, but the majority were inscribed only with the title such as “ Malik Al Adil” ( The Just King).

This tree was moulded by pouring molten tin though an opening in a mould which runs along a central channel into the side branches and finally into the coin moulds where the katun were cast. After the metal had cooled and hardened, the katuns were broken off and the excess metal of the central stem and brances was re smelted for further use.
Comparing this coins’ tree with my other katuns, I could match this katun with type C katun, hexagonal and class V as outlined in Saran Singh’s The Encyclopaedia of The Coins of Malaysia Singapore & Brunei, page 124 ( SS32A). The obverse has a large central dot surrounded by dots ( total 7 dots) whereas the reverse of this katun is blank.  It has hexagonal shape with plain edge and typical weight of 1.09 gm each. Diameter range from 16-17mm. Some of them look round in shape. Made of tin and RRRR if with the tree.
The other katun tree from the same empire has an S shape as if a kris whereas this one is straight like a tree. Check my other coin tree at
Johor Katun Tree Flower
Johor Katun Tree Kris

This piece is absolutely a priceless relic.

Coin Spec
Description Pohon katun with 15 katuns attached type C, hexagonal with 7 dots, SS32A
Weight : TBA
Rarity : RRRR
Ref : Saran's SS32A Pg 124

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Ancient Artifact Review 104 : Antique Jewish Hebrew tiles from Mellah Jewish Quarter Fes Morocco ( 19th Century)

This is a rare ceramic tile from the Mellah ( Jewish Quarter) of Fes Morocco from 19th Century. The tile is decorated with floral and vegetal motives with some Hebrew alphabets in the middle row.
The inscription looks like  ברך  (Kaph , Resh , Beth ) pronounced as Barak means blessing.
Originally the word "barak"  used in Genesis 24:11 means " to kneel". However a derived word means "to show respect" or "to bless" is used in Genesis 12:2.

It is very common for Jewish who are settling in Mellah Fes to decorate their houses with tiles inscribed with blessings or word of wisdoms.
In a book, Pottery from Morocco 19th-20th c entury, by Rachel Hasson, "Fes was the most important centre for clay vessels in Morocco.... large quantities of tiles were produced in Fes and were used as an architectural decoration. Most items were decorated with paint and then glazed"

From an auction of similar tile which can be seen at the link below, 6 pieces of tiles were sold for USD4,841
Kedem Auction

Artifact Specs :

Item : Ceramic Tile
Content : Vegetal motives with Hebrew word Kaph, Resh, Beth ( Barak) glazed in turquoise
Dim : 10cm x 10cm x 2cm
Date : 19th Century CE
Purchased Price :
Reference : Pottery from Morocco 19th-20th Century, p.4