Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Batu Bersurat Terengganu

Stone inscription is common everywhere. However, in Malaysia, there is one inscription stone that stands out above the rest we have seen so far. This Terengganu inscription stone is charcoal black with white Jawi inscriptions, much like using white chalk to write on a blackboard.

It was discovered in Hulu Terengganu in the 14th Century, in 1303, as stated by Prof. Syed Naguib Al-Attas as cited in The Genius of Malay Civilisation (Asmah Haji Omar 2003:50).

The stone tells of Islamic regulations and provides an early evidence of Islam in Terengganu and vicinity. Many have not seen the stone but have heard about it. I saw the replica stone for the first time at Muzium Islam in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. The real stone is at Muzium Negeri Terengganu.

This is a black stone cut into an irregular pedestal with 4 flat surfaces. It has an unusual geometry, much like a tall columnar headgear. There is Jawi writing on each roughly cut surface. Since this is a replica stone, the Jawi inscription appears on the surface and not cut into the stone surface. The real stone has Jawi inscription cut into the stone surface (dipahat) and the stone has the original granite surface, like that of batu tumbuk and batu giling. It is also known as Batu Berukir Terengganu as the Jawi inscriptions are inscribed onto the stone surface.

Asmah Haji Omar (ed.). 2003. The Genius of Malay Civilisation. A publication of the Institute of Malay Civilisation, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjong Malim, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia.

Update from Anonymous:
This is a replica of the real stone. The real stone is in the Muzium Negeri Terengganu. Here's the link to the museum


Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum. This is a replica of the real stone. The real stone in the Muzium Negeri Terengganu. Here's the link to the museum

Prof Faridah said...

TQ for highlighting that this is a replica and for providing the exact location where the real stone is today. Thanks for the link too.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome. I remember seeing it in Muzium Negeri Terengganu. Its color was not black (I don't know what color to describe it though, sorry!) and it was in a glass display. Photography wasn't allowed inside the muzium so I don't have any photos of it, although it might be a different story if the stone is on loan to another museum.