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!!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Ancient Artifact Review 109 : Antique Malay Poems Jawi Plate / Pinggan Pantun (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 :

" Yang membuat namanya Adam,

wakilnya Tolson di Betawi,

Syair dan pantun banyaklah ragam,

Janganlah tuan kikir membeli"

Anderson Tolson is probably a retailing firm in Batavia.

The pantun inscribed 4 lines in the centre written :

Papan di tarah raja bangsawan

Laksamana mandi berdiri

Badan terserah padamu tuan

Tiada ke mana membawa diri

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 22cm

In the book, Piring Puisi Melayu, Abu Muawiyah classified the piring as PPM-E3 on page 303.

See below link to see what else Dr Henri said about this plate writing tradition :

Dr Henri talk on pinggan pantun

Similar plate was seen in Muzium Warisan Melayu UPM, check below link about this plate :

Pinggan Pantun in Muzium Warisan Melayu

I have quite similar design of this plate below :

Pinggan Pantun

See below my other Malay Plate

Pinggan Pantun

Reference :

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

Piring Puisi Melayu, by Abu Muawiyah, Maktabah Nasir Addunya Waddin

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Ancient Manuscript Review 208 : Antique Quran Arabic Islamic Papyrus from Egypt ( 8th Century)


This is a papyrus fragment written in Qurra ( Naskh) script in black ink. I couldn't decipher the content of this fragment. It is written in Arabic language and it could be Quranic or just Arabic document.Origin from Egypt and purchased from USA with COA. It is claimed from 8th Century CE based on the paleography and the medium

I don't have much information of this kind of manuscript and its writing tradition. I need to do more research on this manuscript and will update this entry later. I welcome any feedback on this fragment.

Manuscript Specs

Item : Islamic Papyus Manuscript

Content :  Islamic / Quranic

Dim : 100mm x 95mm

Date : 8th century CE

Copyist :  N/A

Origin :  Egypr

Calligraphy : Qurra / Naskh

Design :

Purchased Price :US

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Ancient Artifact Review 108 : Antique Thai Silver Modesty Plate / Chainlink Mesh Caping/ Pubic Cover 19th Century CE


This is an interesting silver chain with shield shaped wire mesh modesty cover from Thailand. This chain was worn around the waist to cover private part of infant and young girls once they started walking until the age of 5 years old. Interestingly they did not wear anything else except this. 

From my research, this caping was worn by young girls in Northen Thailand.

I bought this item in Thailand however I came across a website which claimed that this mesh cover was also worn by Muslim babies in Indonesia. Anybody can verify this?

The reason this item caught my attention as it bore resemblance purpose to the Malay modesty disc or Caping as below link :

Malay Muslim Caping 01

Malay Muslim Caping 02

This chain has the length of 38cm whereas the chainlink plate has dimension of 8cm x 8cm

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Ancient Artifact Review 107 : Antique Islamic marble/ tile from Essaouira Morocco ( 19th Century) - بركة محمد (Barakah Muhammad )


This is a rare marble slab from most likely the town of Essaouira, Morocco from 18-19th Century. The tile is made from white marble and inscribed with Arabic words, بركة محمد

The inscription looks like  بركة محمد  pronounced as Barakah Muhammad means blessing of Prophet Muhammad.

"Barakat Mohammed" is a sacred term for the inhabitants of Essaouira and you can find this inscription almost everywhere in the town.

The inhabitants of this town adorn their houses, shops, and building with this saacred inscription to invoke blessings.

The establishment of this type of tile dating from 18th century at the foundation of the town by the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah al-Qatib ( Mohammed III c. 1710-1790), calling about divine protection of the town. He let build a fortress originally called Souira ("the small fortress"). Later the name was Es-Saouira ("the beautifully made, the picture") Today this town is called Essaouira.

Notice the "Barakat Mohammed" plate on the wall upper right (Souk el Jdid)

Compare with my other similar tile but for Jews and inscribed in Hebrew

Jewish Tile Barak

Artifact Specs :

Item : Marble Tile

Content :  بركة محمد  (Barakah Muhammad ) means blessing of Prophet Muhammad.
Dim : 13.5cm x 13.5cm x 2cm
Date : 19th Century CE
Purchased Price :
Reference : Pottery from Morocco 19th-20th Century

Ancient Manuscript Review 207 : Antique Ottoman Era document / Letter ( 1267 AH / 1851 CE)


This is a document written in old Turkish. The document was originally folded and sealed. I couldn't figure out what type of document this is. It could be a legal document or a personal ones.  The letter is written in Riqaah script in black. It was signed and dated 1267 AH ( 1851 CE). There is a watermark "Al Masso". According to my research, the paper is from Italian paper mill belongs to Marcos Antonio Portugal operating from 1762 to 1830 CE.

I don't have much information of this kind of manuscript and its writing tradition. I need to do more research on this manuscript and will update this entry later. I welcome any feedback on this letter.

My other similar document is in below link

Manuscript Specs

Item : Ottoman document
Content :  Unknown
Dim : 220mm x 160mm
Date : 1267 AH
Copyist : indechiperable
Origin :  Turkey
Calligraphy : Riqaah
Design :
Purchased Price :US

Ancient Coin Review 121 : Rare coin of King of Axum , Armah ( 614-631 CE) or King Najashi who helped Muslims/Prophet Companions first immigration to Abyssinia in 615 CE

This is a coin from the era of king of Axum / Aksum know as Armah or Ashamah Ibn Abjar or Najashi. He ruled Kingdom of Aksum in Abyssinia from 614 - 631 CE.

King Najashi seated and crowned holding a long cross. King Armah in Ge'ez


Cross framed by 2 stalks of grain. Let there be joy to the people (in Ge'ez)

The kingdom of Axum in a nutshell was an isolated and independent Christian kingdom in what is now Ethiopia and Eritrea that survived from the 1st century AD to approx. the 9th century AD. They existed on equal footing with the the empires of the day. Rome, Persia and China. At some point they conquered the Himyarite Confederacy, in what is now Yemen, and absorbed the Sabean culture. They maintained strong ties with the Byzantine Empire until ultimately being cut off from trade by the Arab conquests of the surrounding area, and Axum fell into decline. The Kingdom of Axum is the proposed home of the Ark of the Covenant and the legendary home of the Queen of Sheba. The Axumite Monarchy was established based on a genealogical relationship with the King Solomon of Judea and the Queen of Sheba.

During his reign, the Muslims in Mecca faced severe persecutions by the polythiests and Prophet Muhammad ( PBUH) has allowed his followers to make the first migration to Abyssinia to save their faith and life. This Muslim emigrants were led by Jaafar bin Abu Talib in 615 CE.

When the polythiests from Mecca came to retrieve the Muslims, King Najashi refused to surrender them. 

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) after the Hudaibiyah Treaty in 6 AH ( 628 CE), sent letters to leading kings and rulers of the region inviting them to Islam. Amr bin Umayyah Dhimri was delegated to the court of Habesha. King Najashi received the letter with great honor, touched it with his eyes and read it. He came down from the throne and sat on the ground to show his humbleness and high respect for the Prophet of Allah. Later he asked the letter to be preserved in an ivory casket.

The king wrote back saying”...I testify that you are the Messenger of Allah, true and confirming those before you. I have given my allegiance to you and to your brother (i.e. Jafar) and I have surrendered myself through him to the Lord of the Worlds.”

Muslim emigrants returned with Jafar to Madinah when the Prophet (peace be upon him) conquered Khyber. They thanked King Najashi for his good protection and hospitality provided to them. When King Najashi expired in 631 CE the Prophet (peace be upon him) offered his funeral prayer in absentia, in Madinah. He is buried at a place called Najash in Ethiopia.

Prophet's Letter to Najashi

Najashi Tomb

Date ......... 614-631 CE
Ruler........... King Armah, Najashi
Condition.............. VF
Approx. diameter.............  18 mm
Approx. weight in grams............... 1.55 grams
Reference : Munro-Hay Type 153; BMC Aksum 573