IIAS Newsletter 46 Winter 2008

Searching for Islamic manuscripts

Irina Katkova

No original writing tradition in Minang – the language of the Minangkabau ethnic group of Western Sumatra – existed before the coming of Islam. The Jawi, or Arabic Malay, Islamic writing tradition, which developed over the 17th and 18th centuries, became the main conduit of Sufi learning on Sumatra, producing manuscripts that have since become quite rare. At the beginning of the 21st century, Irina Katkova undertook a journey to find still existing examples of this almost vanished tradition.

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