‘More Jawi experts needed to decipher tombs, tombstones’

National 1 minute, 42 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MORE Jawi experts are needed to help decipher the Jawi inscriptions on historic tombs and tombstones in the country.

The assistant history officer II of the Conservation and Casting Unit, Research and Documentation Department, at the Brunei History Centre, told The Brunei Times that the centre currently has four Jawi experts.

“We are currently seeking assistance from experts at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) and Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (KUPU SB) to read certain Jawi inscriptions,” said Hj Mohd Noor Irwan Hj Osmar.

He said the centre is still seeking full-time Jawi experts despite the assistance.

“This is especially for Jawi inscriptions that overlap each other. We need experts to look into it,” he said.

Officers from the Conservation and Casting Unit have done more than 458 castings of tombstones in the country.

Hj Mohd Noor Irwan said castings (a practice or method of retrieving and conserving information found on tombstones by tracing) were conducted on tombstones that contained historical values.

These include tombstones of Royal family members and other influential, prominent figures.

“The tracings of these tombstones are kept to be recorded and used for research.”

Hj Mohd Noor Irwan said research has been conducted on most of the tracings, adding that officers from the centre will be conducting more castings in the upcoming months.

He said tracings are conducted as early as possible before the writings on the tombs and tombstones fade.

He explained the time taken to conduct research on each tomb and tombstone depends on the information retrieved.

“It also depends on the type of inscriptions, design and type of stone used, among others.”

Hj Mohd Noor Irwan said most of the inscriptions casted by the centre are those containing Jawi inscriptions with information such as the name, date, year, genealogy, village name and reason of passing.

“It is important for us to study the writings of these tombs and tombstones as they contain historical data and facts as well as the identities of the individuals,” he said.

The Brunei Times