Kotagede revisited

Earlier we reported about a manuscript plan of the Royal Tombs at Kotagede, the historic neighbourhood in Yogyakarta where the the first capital of the Mataram sultanate is located. In the ground plan for types of graves where distinguished by colour. Because the map was in Javanese script we couldn’t explain more about it at that time. Later, one of our volunteers noticed that there was a copy of the map in Dutch in the collection too.

Original plan of the Royal Tombs in Javanese script

As we suspected, there is a kind of 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.

Dutch copy of the plan

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.

Legend in Javanese (left) and Dutch (right)

These manuscript plans are those in the KITLV collection that are drawn on the largest scale, of about 1 : 150. The complex with mosque and walled courtyards are still visible on a modern satellite image.

kotagede luchtfoto
Satellite image of the complex

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