Leiden Asia Year Map #4


Map of the royal tombs at Kotagede, c.1890

manuscript on vellum cloth, 81 x 93 cm

KITLV Collection, D E 52,12

One of the most striking maps in the KITLV collection is this manuscript plan of the royal tombs at Kotagede in Javanese script. In this historic neighbourhood in Yogyakarta the remains of the first capital of the Mataram sultanate, including its royal cemetery, are still visible. In the legend 295 graves are listed and in the map itself four types of graves are distinguished by colour: purple, green, red and yellow. From a Dutch manuscript copy of this map, we know that there is a hierarchy in the subdivision of the graves: the purple graves are those of kings and queens that have been canonized by the people. There are only twelve purple graves in the map. The green tombs are of princes and princesses. The red graves are those of further royal relatives. Together these three categories count 295 graves, these are numbered and listed on the map, with the name of the person who has been buried. Of the yellow graves, uncoloured in the copy, it is unknown who they are. These are another c. 250 graves, so in total the cemetery count over 500 graves.

Other elements that are indicated in the map’s legend are the wells and basins for cleaning (blue), houses for the keyholders (brown, yellow in the copy) and ‘sawo and other trees’ (point symbol). The lines in red and black indicate, respectively, the stone and wooden walls of the grave houses. Moreover, the Dutch copy of the map gives more information than the Javanese original. On the Dutch map the names (and functions) of the buildings and courtyards are given. These manuscript plans are those in the KITLV collection that are drawn on the largest scale, of about 1 : 150. It is a typical example of the manuscript maps in the KITLV collection, that are concerned with research on historic and religious sites in Indonesia.