Panji Tales Manuscripts

Documentary heritage submitted by Cambodia, Indonesia,the Netherlands, Malaysia and the United Kingdom and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2017.

© National Library of Indonesia, Panji Angraeni, in Javanese Alphabet

The Panji tales are stories from the 13th century telling the many adventures of the Prince Paji, a Javanese hero searching for his beloved Princess Candra Kirana, and his undertaken in various disguises and with a range of different names, before the lovers are reunited. They mark the development of a Javanese literature no longer overshadowed by the great Indian epics the Ramayana and Mahabharata which were known in Java from the 12th century. During the Majapahit empire (14th-15th centuries), the Panji stories became extremely popular, spread by sea merchants, became one of the most popular literatures in Southeast Asia during the 17th-18th centuries, from Java to Bali, the Malay world, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and probably the Philipines. Its influence was described by Adrian Vickers as “a Panji civilization in Southeast Asia.”. The literary traditions and wider culture of the Panji Tales spread beyond the island of Java to South East Asia, and was and remains a unique regional literary and cultural treasure. 

Back to top