The Centhini Story. The Javanese Journey of Life. SOEWITO SANTOSO.

The Centhini Story.
The Javanese Journey of Life.

Singapore: Marshall Cavendish. 2007. Stock ID #175661

Map, colour photographic plates, 400pp, index, 25.5 x 19cm. A fine copy in dustwrapper.

Serat Centhini on which this volume is based, is one of Indonesia's oldest surviving manuscripts. Dating back to 1814, it is an encyclopaedic work written in the form of poetry and song by court scholars of the Surakarta royal palace. It was inspired by prince A. A. Mangkunegoro III, who later become King Paku Buwono V of the Surakarta kingdom. The original 12 volumes no longer exist and the reason behind their loss is a mystery, but exact copies made in the late 1800s are housed in the Netherlands and in the royal libraries of Java. Serat Centhini contains a vast amount of Javanese knowledge and lessons framed in the travel stories of three royal children. It encompasses art, music, dance, ceremonies, divination, magic, eroticism, the human life cycle and human nature, religion, spiritualism and mysticism, as well as practical matters concerning housing and health. The result is a comprehensive account of Javanese culture and beliefs.

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