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Open Access The Syair of Minye Tujuh

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The Syair of Minye Tujuh

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image of Bijdragen tot de taal-, land- en volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia

The allegedly satisfactory state of affairs suggested by the above quotation relates to one of the most intriguing inscriptions of the Indonesian archipelago, the Malay poem on one of the two tombstones (nisan) of a princess in Minye Tujuh, Aceh. This inscription, dated 781 AH (1380 AD), is written not in the usual Arabic script but in so-called Old Sumatran characters. The particular style which caught the attention of the Dutch epigrapher J.G. de Casparis and which made the inscription so difficult to read refers to the influence of the Arabic script on these old characters. Looking for an explanation of this influence, De Casparis (1975:58-9) suggests that it may have been a matter of training: the Arabic script must have been the most familiar type of script for the clerk charged with the reproduction of the text in stone in old characters.

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