Documentation and Preservation of Bima Manuscript (EAP988)

Aims and objectives

Bima is one of the provinces in Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB), east part of Sumabawa Island, Indonesia. By its residents, Bima is also known as Dou Mbojo. In the past, Bima was one of the maritime kingdoms in the archipelago. The trace of history and culture from Kingdom of Bima can be found in historical objects and hand written in the form of manuscripts. The Rima manuscripts were written in Arabic, Jawi (Arabic Malay), Mbojo (Bima form of writing) and Bugis Makassar writing. Today, the Bima Manuscripts are less cared for so they are in danger of becoming damaged and even extinct.

Other than that, today Bima Manuscripts are under the care of the last descendant of Sultan Bima, Mrs. Mariam Salahuddin. She is 87 years old and has no heir. It raised a concern that when Mrs. Salahuddin passed away (which sadly has now happened), the Bima Manuscripts that contains important information about the culture and history of Bima in the past will only be considered as antiques by her family, and may be sold to other people who do not understand about Bima manuscripts. If this happens, not only Bima will lose its historical heritage, but also the world will lose some important information about its past.

At the end of 2016, Bima encountered a natural disaster in the form of an avalanche and flood. This also has been very alarming. At the moment, the manuscripts are still safe, but disaster can happen again. And if it does, no one can make sure that the manuscripts will still remain safe. Therefore,  rescue is needed to be done really quickly, the objective is obvious which is to save the information of Bima and the world. From the research that has been done by Mulyadi in 1990 and 1992 at Bima District Office, it is known that there are 170 manuscripts. There is a possibility that the number will increase or may even decrease. Therefore this research project needs to be done, to preserve the existence of those Bima manuscripts so they will not disappear or get sold. Based on Mulyadi (1990 and 1992) there is a variety of information within the Bima manuscripts, such as about BO (a large volume of daily activities in Kingdom of Bima), religion (Islam), philosophy, saga, family trees, and letters (formal and informal).



Bima manuscripts at the collection of Samparaja Museum have been recorded and given a folder by LIPI as well as many illuminated or newly bound by The National Library of Indonesia, but they have never been documented or digitised. 222 Bima manuscripts have been digitised (resulting in 16,040 images).

The records copied by this project have been catalogued as: