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Palawa script became Kawi script - 760 AD

Pallawa type script: Abugida
Jakarta (DreamLandLibrary) - Literacy / Letters, based on written evidence contained in the inscriptions of the 5th Century AD, it appears that the Indonesian people have known Pallawa letters and Sanskrit.

The Pallawa letters that have been Indonesian are known by the name Kawi. Since the Dinoyo inscription (760 AD), the Kawi letter has been used in Indonesia, and Sanskrit is no longer used in the inscription, but the Kawi language is used.

Dinoyo inscription is closely related to the Temple of the Clown in Malang.


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Professor J.G. de Casparis from the Netherlands, a paleographer or literary historian, said that the hanacaraka script was divided into five main periods, namely:

    The Pallawa Script The Pallawa Script comes from South India. This type of script began to be used around the 4th century and the 5th century AD. One proof of the use of this type of script in the archipelago is the discovery of the Yupa inscription in Kutai, East Kalimantan. This script is also used in Java, namely in the Tatar Sundha in the Tarumanegara Inscription written around 450 AD in the land of Java itself, this script is used in the Tuk Mas Inscription and the Canggal Inscription. The Pallawa script is the mother of all scripts in the archipelago, including the hanacaraka script. If you pay attention, the Pallawa script is rectangular in shape. In English, this case is referred to as box head or square head-mark letters. Although the Pallawa script has been used since the 4th century, the original Nusantara language has not been written in this script.
Kawi Wiwitan script The difference between the Kawi Wiwitan script and the Pallawa script is mainly in the style.

The Pallawa script is known as one of the monumental scripts, the script used for writing on stone inscriptions.

The Kawi Wiwitan script is mainly used for writing on the palm leaf, therefore the form is more cursive. This script was used between the years 750 AD to 925 AD Inscriptions written using this script are very large in number, approximately 1/3 of all inscriptions found on the island of Java. For example in the Plumpang inscription (in the Salatiga area) which was more or less written in the year 750 AD This inscription is still written in Sanskrit.

Aksara Kawi Pungkasan About after the year 925, the center of power on the island of Java was in the area of ​​East Java. This transfer of power also affects the type of character used. The usage period of the Kawi Pungkasan script is approximately from 925 AD to 1250 AD. Actually, the Kawi Pungkasan script is not too much different from the Kawi Wiwitan script, but the style has become somewhat different. On the other hand, the style of script used in East Java before the year 925 AD has also been different from the style of script used in Central Java. So this difference is not only a difference in time, but also in a different place.

At that time four different styles of characters could be distinguished, namely; 1) Wet Javanese Kawi Script in 910-950 AD; 2) the Javanese Kawi Wetanan script during the era of King Airlangga in 1019-1042 AD; 3) Kawi Javanese Script Wetanan Terminated approximately in the year 1100-1200 AD; 4) Upright scripts (quadrate script) are still in the kingdom period Ended in 1050-1220 AD

Majapahit script In the history of the Archipelago in the period between 1250-1450 AD, marked by the dominance of the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java. The Majapahit script also shows the influence of the writing style in the horizontal and the shape is more beautiful with a semi-calligraphic style. The main example of this writing style is found in the Singhasari Inscription which is estimated in 1351 AD The writing style of the Majapahit style is approaching the modern style.

Post Majapahit Script After Majapahit era, which according to history began in 1479 until the end of the 16th century or early 17th century AD, was a dark period in the history of Javanese script. Because after that until the beginning of the 17th century AD, almost no evidence was found for the use of Javanese script, suddenly the Javanese script became a modern form.

However, inscriptions were also found to be a missing link between the Hanacaraka script from the ancient Javanese era and the Buddhist script which is still used today in Java, especially around Mount Merapi and Mount Merbabu until the 18th century. This inscription is called the Ngadoman Inscription which was found in the Salatiga area. However, the oldest examples of Buddhist script used are from West Java and are found in texts that describe Kakawin Arjunawiwaha and Kunjarakarna.

The Emergence of the New Hanacaraka Scriptures After the Majapahit era, the era of Islam and also the era of Western Colonialism in the land of Java. This era appears the first manuscript manuscripts that have used the new Hanacaraka script. These manuscripts are not only written on palm leaves (palm or palm) anymore, but also on paper and in the form of a book or codex (kondheks). These manuscripts were found in the north coast of Java and were brought to Europe in the 16th or 17th century.

The form of the new Hanacaraka script is different from the previous one like the Majapahit script. The main difference is called additional serifs in the Hanacaraka stone script. These early Hanacaraka characters are all similar in shape from western Banten to Bali. However, in the end some regions did not use the hanacaraka script and pindhah used the pegon and the hanacaraka style script which became the standard of Durakarta. But of all the characters, Balinese script whose form remained the same until the 20th century.

Pallawa script is used in the archipelago from the 4th century to approximately the 8th century.

Then the Kawi Wiwitan script was used from the 8th century to the 10th century, especially in Central Java [2].


[1] Anonimousc. 2009. Hanacaraka Saka Wikipedia, Free Encyclopedia Ing Basa Java. Http: // Accessed February 12, 2009 Pg. 3

[2] Anonimousc. 2009. Hanacaraka Saka Wikipedia, Free Encyclopedia Ing Basa Java. Http: // Accessed February 12, 2009 Pages 3-5
A. Prof. Dr. Poerbacaraka
Previously Javanese did not recognize letters. The communication tools used are verbal and with one another there are differences, so if it is not within the scope of one's own village to make communication difficult. Then came new knowledge namely the Palawa letter which is now in its development known as the Javanese letter. And that indicates that the Indian civilization is more advanced than the Javanese with the alleged origin of the letter.

B. Palaography Study (science of ancient letters)
Javanese letters experienced a development that was quite tiring so that it finally became what it is today. The division of development is as follows;
  1. The first Palawa letter, used before 700 AD, supporting evidence is the Tugu inscription in Bogor
  2. The last Palawa letter, from the VII century to the middle VIII century, supporting evidence is the Canggu inscription in Kedu Magelang.
  3. The first Old Javanese letter, used in 750 to 925 AD, supporting evidence is Polengan inscription, Kalasan Yogyakarta. This means that in the last VII century, the Palawa Letters had been rivaled by the emergence of the first Old Javanese Letters. This does not mean there are no two letters! but there are some Palawa Letters that have shifted their form and pronunciation, and so on, the letters and letters of Palawa are disappearing and completely depleted before the middle of VIII century. One easy example, many people now use the letter r in their handwriting using an out of place R.
  4. The last Old Javanese letter, used in the year 925-1250 AD supporting evidence is the Airlangga inscription.
  5. Old Javanese letters under the Majapahit Government, used in 1250-1450 AD, supporting evidence is Singosari & Malang inscriptions, and ron-tal (ron = tal leaf = palm tree) or also often called KONTARARARAR LONTAR fiber.
  6. The new Javanese letters, used in 1500-present, supporting evidence is the BONANG book. This letter was tolerated during the Demak Government which was supported by most of the saints in this land of Java.

Photo: Special

Sapto in the Palawa Script

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