The Marinci Inscription

University of South Carolina



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source : KITLVepigraphyscorner.blogspot,

The Notulen of the Bataviaasch Genootschap for 1914 contain a brief description by N. J. Krom of a copper-plate inscription found in the desa Printje, which is located in the vicinity of Batu, above Malang in East Java, on the saddle between the Kawi and Arjuna mountain complexes. The inscription was taken up as number E-49 in the Museum collection and was noted as follows:

E-49. Copper-plate, 29.4 x 9.3 cm., inscribed on one side with five, the other side four lines of late Old Javanese script; together with a [figure of a] parrot as a seal. The language shows similarities to Cohen Stuart IV. The charter is complete and names a king who is deceased at Amrtabhawana (NBG 1914:44,52; bijlage 5,192).

Besides this concise cataloguing entry, the inscription apparently has not received further published notice. It was not mentioned in Krom’s own Hindoe-Javaansche Geschiedenis (1931). The contents of the inscription, however, merit further consideration for what additional light might be shed on rural organization and administrative patterns of fourteehth century Majapahit [*].

The inscription is very similar to a number of other Majapahit era simple rescripts exempting certain rural communities from specific forms of taxes and other levies or exactions. It is one more example of the regulation of social and economie relationships at the village level from the supra-village sphere of the royal court. In addition to Krom’s mention of Cohen Stuart IV (Selamandi), the particular group of inscriptions to which E-49 is similar includes Biluluk, Patapan I (Trawulan IV), Kararig Bogëm (Trawulan V), Katiden I and II, and Walandit (Wanajaya). All but Katiden I (Stutterheim 1937:150-154) have been republished, translated, and commented upbn by Pigeaud in Java in the 14th Century (1960-1963). The authorship of some of these inscriptions can be attributed to members of the royal family other than the king himself. On the basis of their internal similarities of language, subject matter, and spare style (to be contrasted with the elaborate formulation of the supreme ruler’s decrees), these inscriptions as a class might be characterized as “provincial” rather than “imperial”, regulating matters in those territories over which leading members of the royal family held titular jurisdiction or enjoyed usufructuary rights.

The text of the decree contained in E-49 confirms a previous edict of a deceased member of royalty – but not necessarily a king – whose funerary shrine was identified as Amrtabhawana (magëhakën, andika-nira talampakanira bhatara sang mokta ring,amrtabhawana). It is addressed to the dapur or rural commoners of Tumapël and exempts the pangarëmban ing dewarësi of the district Marinci from certain dues and tributes. Utilizing Damais’ system (1952:7-9) of internal toponymic designation, we will henceforth term copper-plate E-49 the Marinci inscription.

It has heretofore escaped notice that the Marinci inscription is dated. The date is recorded in the fashion peculiar to the Walandit, Patapan, and Rënëk inscriptions: that is, the date is given in a very abbreviated way by month and with the year simply indicated by the unit figure of the first decade of the (fourteenth) Saka era century [#]. The Marinci inscription is dated titi ka 4 sirah 5 (verso: 4): being the fourth month [of the Saka year having the] head 5. This would be Kartikka, 1305 Saka or October-November, 1383 A.D.

Fourteenth century Marinci certainly is the twentieth century desa Printje, where the copper-plate was found in an old coffee plantation. This is situated in the mountainous western border area of the histbrical realm of Tumapël, the rural common villagers of which were the object of the sealed decree (rdjamudra). The subject group enjoying the exemptions from levies was a particular religious community of dewarësi, qualified by pangarëmban. The Tantu Panggëlaran mentions a class of Sivaite monks called wiku rsyangarëmban (79:11) as well as angaremban hermitages (Pigeaud 1924:81, 1 . 24). At one place in the Korawacrama (Swellengrebel 1936:60,1. 36) mandalangërëmba is in a list of rather obscure holy orders. Neither Pigeaud (1924) nor Swellen- grebel (1936), the respective editors of the two texts, was able to specify a functional meaning for the term. Pigeaud (1960-1963) came back to it as encountered in the Rajapatigundala. In the context there, he suggest- ed conjecturally that pangarëmban refers to “religious officers connected with householding (perhaps housebuilding or the foundation of a new settlement), and with the opening of new lands” (Pigeaud 1963:IV, 363). This would be consistent with the angarëmbha found in a thir- teenth century inscription which was translated by its editor “onder-nemer” (Van Naerssen 1941:48): Most recently, Zoetmulder defined angaremban as “a particular category of wikus (who work on the land?)” (Zoetmulder 1982:1, 124). It may be then that the pangarëmban ing dewaresi of the Marinci inscription were the founders or pioneers of a mandala, opening up a new religious settlement in a remote and thinly populated region of Tumapël.

Who was the living member of the Majapahit royal family issuing the Marinci decree? Given the jurisdiction – Tumapël – and the date – 1383 A.D. — we would tentatively assign it to Krtawardhana (died 1386 A.D.), King Hayam Wuruk’s father, prince of Singasari, and the Bhre Tumapël of the Pararaton. His involvement in the affairs of the realm is only hinted at in the Nagarakrtagama, and the Marinci inscription could document his active participation in administrative matters. Unfortunately, we do not know whether the bird emblem (Krom’s “papegaai”) adorning the plate served as Krtawardhana’s seal.

Even more problematical is the identity of the deceased member of the royal family appearing on the plate. We would assume a family relationship with the issuing authority. Amrtabhawana (“Abode of Immortality”) as the name of a funerary temple does not occur elsewhere [@]. There or epigraphic clues as to who the bhatara “liberated” at Amrtabhawana might be. We are left then only with conjecture, for what it is worth. One possible candidate is Krtawardhana’s son by a secondary wife. This was Raden Sotor, King Hayam Wuruk’s older half-brother, who is mentioned in-the Pararaton as occupying a succession of high status roles at court: hino of Koripan, Daha, and Majapahit (Pararaton 29:25). The titles are princely and in the protocol of Majapahit “imperial” inscriptions rank just below the king’s immediate family. Raden Sotor’s son was Raden Sumirat, prince of Pandan Salas {Pararaton 29:25). His consecration name Ranamanggala is known from the 1367 A.D. Gëdangan inscription (Kern 1917) and the manggalas to the kakawins Arjunawijaya and Sutasoma (Zoetmulder 1975:342). He married the king’s niece, becoming the brother-in-law of Hayam Wuruk’s successor, Wikramawardhana (Hyang Wisesa).

Obviously, Raden Sotor was a person of great prestige. It is accordingly strange that this distinguished contemporary of Hayam Wuruk is not mentioned by Prapanca in his Nagarakrtagama. One very possible explanation is that he was already dead by the time of its composition in 1365 A.D. There is no problem with this chronologically. Sotor would have been born before 1334 A.D., his younger brother Hayam Wuruk’s birthdate, and his son Ranamanggala was at least an adolescent by 1367 A.D. Raden Sotor is one of the few prominent nobles mentioned in the Pararaton whose date of death and place of “liberation” are, for whatever reason, not recorded. Without further evidence the question will, of course, remain open, but speculativély we may ask: is Krtawardhana’s son Raden Sotor the bhatara sang mokta ring amrtabhawana of the Marinci inscription?


[*] The discussion to follow is based on incidental notes made by the author in 1963 on inspection of the rubbing of E-49 in the Kern Institute, Leiden, during the course of dissertation research supported by the Ford Foundation Foreign Area Fellowship Program.

[#] This method of dating is discussed by Damais (1955:237) for the Walandit and Patapan inscriptions. The Rënëk inscription was not included in Damais’ list of datèd inscrip- tions. It contains cyclical calendrical data that cannot be reconciled without assuming there is an error. The date of 1301 Saka (sirah 1) accordingto Pigeaud (1960-1963:11, 145) was accepted by Damais as probable. This form of dating is also discussed by De Casparis (1978:20, n. 61).

[@] A bhatara prabhu sang mokta ring amrttawisesalaya occurs in the Pëtak inscription of 1486 A.D. (Muusses 1929). The fact that it is a century younger and the historical context (Noorduyn 1978:248) make it extremely unlikely that there is any connection with the bhatara of the Marinci inscription.


Brandes, J. L. A. 1920 Pararaton (Ken Arok), of Het Boek der Koningen van Tumapël en van Majapahit, uitgegeven en toegelicht, 2e druk, VBG’LXII.
Casparis, J. G. De 1978 Indonesiah Chronology, Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Damais, L. C. 1952 ‘Études d’épigraphie Indonésienne, III: Liste des principales inscriptionsdatées de l’Indonésie’, BEFEO XLVI. 1955 ‘Études d’épigraphie Indonésienne, IV: Discussion des dates des inscriptions’, BEFEO XLVI.
Kern, H. 1917 ‘Inscriptie van Gëdangan B, 1367 A.D.’, Verspreide Geschriften VII, ‘s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff.
Krom, N. J. 1931 Hindoe-Javaansche Geschiedenis, ‘s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff.
Muusses, M. 1929 ‘Singhawikramawarddhana,’ Feestbundel van het Bataviaasch Genootschap, Vol. II.
Naerssen, F. H. Van 1941 Oudjavaansche oorkonden in Duitsche en Deensche verzamelingen, Leiden: (thesis).
Noorduyn, J. 1978 ‘Majapahit in the Fifteenth Century’, BK1134.
Pararaton: see Brandes.
Pigeaud, Th. G. Th. 1924 De Tantu Panggëlaran, Oud-Javaansch proza-geschrift, uitgegeven, vertaald entoegelicht, ‘s-Gravenhage: Nederl. Boek- en Steendrukkerij. 1960-1963 Java in the 14th Century: A Study in Cultural History, 5 volumes, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff.
Stutterheim, W. F. 1937 ‘De archaeologische verzameling; Lijst van aanwinsten’, Jaarboek KBG, IV.
Swellengrebel, J. L. 1936 Korawacrama, een Oud-Javaansch proza-geschrift, uitgegeven, vertaald, en toegelicht, Santpoort: C. A. Mees.
Zoetmulder, P. J. 1975 Kalangwan: A Survey ofOldJavanese Literature, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. 1982 Old Javanese-English Dictionary, ‘s-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijho


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