Persianate Aspects of the Malay-Indonesian World: Rare Manuscripts

with Majid Daneshgar

British Institute of Persian Studies (BIPS) Seminar Series

Wednesday 25 May, 2022, 5:00pm (GMT)

Zoom Webinar

Like other geographical zones, the Persianate world was an inclusive world, interacting with other non-Muslim communities, enriching its multiculturalism and increasing its influence. A number of studies have shown the influence of Persian culture and elements across Southeast Asia. Archaeological examinations have proved the existence and widespread use of pre-Islamic and early Islamic Persian Sassanian materials in Southeast Asia, particularly in Siam (Thailand) (e.g., Setudeh Nejad 1995). Historical archives demonstrate the contribution of Persian merchants, statesmen and religious figures to Cham’s and Siam’s social and cultural contexts in the 16th and 17th centuries (e.g., Marcikowski 1998). More detailed studies on the role of the Persian language in Southeast Asian trading administration (Peacock 2018, Khazeni 2018) and literature has been done (e.g., Morrison 1955; Bausani 1968; Brakel 1975), which may allow us to consider whether Persian was a part of the lingua franca in Thailand, Arakan, Burma, Aceh and Malacca from the 15th to the 19th century. To find a proper answer for such questions, we first need to gather more materials, the content of which may affect the discourse. Per se, this study, which is part of a larger project, aims to continue this enquiry and follow up on earlier literature, to see to what extent Malays were familiar with the Persian language, literature and even music. This study pays particular attention to Malay-Indonesian manuscripts which have not been examined [thoroughly] so far.

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