The Chinese Annals of Batavia, the Kai Ba Lidai Shiji and Other Stories (1610-1795)
- Wednesday 6 March 2019
2311 VL Leiden
The manuscript collection of the Leiden University Library contains much interesting historical manuscript material about the Chinese presence in Southeast Asia. Koos Kuiper has published a very useful guide to these sources. Catalogue of Chinese and Sino-Western Manuscripts in the central Library of Leiden University (2005). Owing to the inclusion of the libraries of the KITLV and the Sinological Institute, two institutions which sadly enough were decapitated a few years ago, much interesting source material has been added but is waiting to be integrated in a new vastly expanded guide book. For those who are specifically interested in Chinese source materials about Chinese life on Java from the late eighteenth century until the early twentieth century the Kong Koan archives that were acquired in the 1990s are of course of prime interest. In between 2001 and 2017 all the Chinese language Gongan Bu 公案簿or Minutes of the Board Meeting of the Kong Koan have been published by a team of Leiden and Xiamen University in 16 volumes under the direction of Prof. Nie Dening 聂德宁, Dr. Wu Fengbin 吴凤斌 and myself 包乐史. These source materials constitute a treasure trove for historians working on the social and economic history of overseas Chinese communities.
In my talk I should like to focus on another very useful manuscript the so called Annals of Batavia 开吧历代史纪, a Chinese history of the Chinese community of Batavia (1609 – 1800) written by an anonymous author at the end of the eighteenth century. The Sinological Institute already had a copy of this manuscript but quite recently a slightly older and more original version was donated to the Friends of the Kong Koan Association which has given it on loan (or in the meantime may already have given it) to the University Library. Nie Dening and I have recently published with Brill Publishers The Chinese Annals of Batavia an annotated English edition of this history largely based on Chinese oral tradition and some Dutch written source material. In my talk I shall focus on the composition and the contents of this curious hybrid Chinese urban history and suggest who the author may have been.
Leonard Blussé, emeritus chair History of Asian-European relations, Leiden University; extraordinary professor at the Research Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Xiamen University. Some publications:
Een Zwitsers Leven in de Tropen, De lotgevallen van Elie Ripon in dienst van de VOC (1616-1626). Amsterdam: Bert Bakker 2016.
Visible Cities, Batavia, Canton and Nagasaki and the Coming of the Americans, Harvard UP, 2008.
Bitter Bonds, A Colonial Divorce Drama of the Seventeenth Century. Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers. 2002.
Strange Company, Leiden: KITLV Press 1986.