ORANG KAYO HITAM

And the Founding of the City of Jambi

Goose, as found at the monument named: “Tugu Jam,” or “Monas”

There are several versions/legends of how Jambi was founded, and it must be remembered that these are indeed legends. There are many historical inaccuracies in these stories. Below is one brief version, starting with the famous character “Orang Kayo Hitam,” who was the founder and “king,” or “sultan” of the Melayu Kingdom (Jambi) from 1500—1515.

After Orang Kayo Hitam married a princes from West Sumatra (Mayang Mangurai), his father-in-law (Datuk Merah Mato) gave him a pair of geese and a rowboat (named Kajang Lako) as wedding presents. Datuk Merah Mato explained to Orang Kayo Hitam and his new bride that they are to allow the two geese two swim along the Batanghari River, and that they are to follow them. The location where they leave the water, and make a nest on the bank and lay eggs, that is the location for them to build a palace for their new kingdom.

Architecture frequently contains images of the two geese.

Orang Kayo Hitam and his wife released the geese along the river, and followed them in their boat. When the geese stopped and climbed the bank of the river to lay their eggs, they knew that was the place they were to build their new kingdom. The location is now known as “Tanah Pilih, or “The Chosen Land” (chosen by magic via the geese). This area later became known as Jambi.

The two geese (Angso Duo–in the local dialect) have become symbols of the Jambi Province. You can read more about this story with this link.

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