Kingship, Time, and Space: Historiography in Southeast Asia

John K. Whitmore, "Kingship, Time, Space: Historiography in Southeast Asia." The Oxford History of History Writing, Volume 2: 400-1400, 2012: 102-118.


Notes of coverage:

A. Epigraphy - genealogies of Angkor (7th to early 13th c.) - early materials "seem to show a shift from maternal succession of chieftainships to a paternal succession of more regional lords."; genealogy compete for time-depth; both Indic / indigenous and male / female lines enphasized; also has ministerial genealogies

B. Epigraphy - Champa (6th - early 14th? c.) - similar to Angkor's; but also use reincarnations

C. Epigraphy - Pagan (11th - 14th? c.) - consolidated genealogies tracing back to the original cosmic ruler, Mahasammata


D. Epigraphy - east Java  - one king list with new ruler Airlangga (r. 1016-45); key issue is spatial integration; Airlangga divided his realm for his two sons

E. Majapahit (east Java) courtly writings - old Javanese kakawin (= candi bahasa, or temples of language, p.109) based on Indian epics such as Mahabharata. Kanwa's Arjunawiwaha [Marriage of Arjuna; early 11th c.]; Wedah's and Panuluh's Bharatayuddha [Wars of the Bharatas; mid-12th c.]; Parthayajna [Book of the Forest; early 14th c.]; Prapanca's Nagarakrtagama or Desawarnana [The Description of the Regions; 1360's or 1370's]; Tantular's Arjunawijaya [Arjuna's Victory; 1360's and 1370's] and Sutasoma [Prince Sutasoma; later work by Tantular]

(Compare this list with my earlier post here)


F. Dai Viet (northern Vietnam) courtly writings - i) Buddhist-influenced writings starting in the Ly dynasty: Viet Dien U Linh Tap [Compilation of the Departed Spirits in the Realm of Viet; 14th c.] which includes fragments from Bao Cuc Truyen [Reords on Declaring the Unfathomable; late 11th c.] and fragments from Do Thien's Su Ky [Historical Record; 1H-12th c.]; Thien Uyen Tap Anh [Compendium of Outstanding Figures of the Thien Garden; Thien=Chan/Zen] which includes Chieu Doi Luc [Collated Biographies (of Buddhist Monks)] by Thong Bien written under the 4th Ly ruler r.1072-1127; ii) Tran dynasty from new coastal Chinese descendent community: Tran Ph's Viet Chi [Record of Viet; 1H-13th c.]; Le Van Huu's Dai Viet Su Ky [Historical Annals of Dai Viet; 1272]; iii) early 14th c. strong ideological effort to push a Buddhist orthodoxy of local Truc-lam (Bamboo Grove) sect of Thien Buddhism - Ly Te Xuyen's Viet Dien U Linh Tap (1329); Thien Uyen Tap Anh (1337); iv) in 1400 Le Quy Ly (of Chinese descent) seized throne and changed family name to Ho, new Vietnamese histories Linh Nam Trich Quai [Strange Tales from South of the Passes] and Viet Su Luoc [Historical Annals of Viet]


G. Island local histories integrated to Islam - Hikayat Raja-Raja Pasai [Story of the Kings of Pasai; completed in 15th c.] 

H. Mainland local histories integrated to Thervada Buddhism - in Tai principalities; local myths portrayed within the cosmic time and space of Theravada Buddhism; Tamnan Phun Muang Chieng Mai [Chieng Mai Chronicle]


Key Historiographical Works:

Prapanca's Nagarakrtagama or Desawarnana [The Description of the Regions; 1360's or 1370's] - description of the actual king, Hayam Wuruk (r. 1350-89)

Le Van Huu's Dai Viet Su Ky [Historical Annals of Dai Viet; 1272; absorbed into Dai Viet Su Ky Toan Thu of 1697]

- Ly Te Xuyen's Viet Dien U Linh Tap [Compilation of the Departed Spirits in the Realm of Viet, 粵/越甸幽靈集,1329; downloadable here]

- Thien Uyen Tap Anh (1337)

- Linh Nam Trich Quai [Strange Tales from South of the Passes; early 15th? c.]

- Viet Su Luoc [Historical Annals of Viet; early 15th? c.]

Hikayat Raja-Raja Pasai [Story of the Kings of Pasai; completed in 15th c.] 

Tamnan Phun Muang Chieng Mai [Chieng Mai Chronicle]

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