Rencong alphabet

Languages Besemah, Lampung, Malay, Rejang, Serawai, and others
Time period
c. 13th–now
Parent systems
Sister systems
Old Sundanese
Detail of a Kerinci Rencong manuscript (KITLV Or. 239). The text reads (Voorhoeve's spelling): "haku manangis ma / njaru ka'u ka'u di / saru tijada da / tang [hitu hadik sa]", which is translated by Voorhoeve as: "I am weeping, calling you; though called, you do not come" (hitu adik sa- is the rest of 4th line


Rencong alphabet (Kerinci)

Rencong, or "Rentjong," is a general term used to refer to any native writing systems found in Malay Peninsula, central and south Sumatra, including Kerinci, Bengkulu, Palembang and Lampung.[1] These scripts lasted until the 18th century, when the Dutch colonised Indonesia. These scripts were used to write manuscripts in native languages and in Malay, such as the Tanjung Tanah Code of Law. The Malay writing was gradually replaced by the Jawi script, a localized version of the Arabic script.

Rencong scripts were often written on tree bark, bamboo, horns and palmyra-palm leaves. Many of the Rencong scripts are also known as "Surat Ulu," or "upriver scripts," given their prevalence away from a coastline.

The term "Rencong" is often confused with "Rejang," which refers to a specific set of related scripts that were used to write various dialects of the Rejang language and for writing Malay in the region.

This map below shows the distribution of various Rencong scripts in South Sumatra:

Map showing distribution of Rencong scripts

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rencong alphabet.


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