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Indonesia in the "Book of All Kingdoms"

Last modified: 2011-06-11 by ian macdonald
Keywords: indonesia | book of all kingdoms | java | taprobana |
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Java

[Flag of Java?] image by Eugene Ipavec, 16 March 2010

The 85th flag mentioned and illustrated in the Book of All Kingdoms is attributed to Taprobana / Java which in the Halkyut Society edition is identified as Sumatra and Java, noting that with Taprobana was usually meant Ceylon instead. It is depicted in the 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription as a red flag with a thin horizontal yellow stripe (no visible black lining) with black lettering "Spqb" on it (with tails sticking out), the flag in the ogival default shape of this source. However, this illustration, identical to flag #29 (Rome), was inserted mistakenly and should be noted as an error exclusive to Book of All Kingdoms (and its eventual derivatives). The correct image would have been the white flag with yellow vertical stripe, like the previous and next ones, and as described in the text. The anonymous author of Book of All Kingdoms describes the flag thus: "E el rey dende á por seńales un pendón de plata con un bastón de oro tal." (="The King has for his device a white flag with a gold wand", as translated in the Halkyut Society edition.)
António Martins-Tuválkin,10 December 2007


Java (white flag?))

[Flag of Java?] image by Eugene Ipavec, 9 February 2010

The 87th flag mentioned and illustrated in the Book of All Kingdoms is attributed to Java, regardless of the fact that a previous flag (the 85th) was also attributed (in part) to Java. This as depicted in the 2005 Spanish illustrated transcription, an empty flag outline (in the ogival default shape of this source), as said shorter than the other such designs (37th, 39th, 45th, and 81st). The edge of the flag is dashed, so it doesn’t seem to be a plain white flag. I have no idea where this comes from, as the text mentions an image.

The anonymous author of Book of All Kingdoms describes the flag thus: "adoran al emperador de Catayo, cuyos vasallos son e traen su imagen en los pendones d’esta manera." (="they adore the Emperor of Cathay, whose image they have on their flags", as translated in the Halkyut Society edition.)

The 1912 English illustrated edition [Halkyut Society edition] doesn’t show a flag for this, but references as "75 Java (S)" a shield from the manuscript "S" [f0fXXs] displaying a scene much like the description of the flag of China (88th in Book of All Kingdoms, q.v.), with a seated emperor.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 9 December 2007