Ottoman Medallion

Medallion that was given to Jambi from the Ottoman Empire. In Jambi it is known by several names: Kalung Bintang Kejora (Morning Star Necklace); Bintang Turki (Turkey Star); and Medali Turki (Turkey Medallion).

Kalung Bintang Kejora—the morning star necklace

This post is about an medallion that is on view at the Museum Negeri Jambi. The medallion originated from the Ottoman Empire and was given as a gift to Jambi.

The History

To obtain military support to overcome Dutch colonialism, Jambi’s Sultan Thaha sent his prime minister to the Ottoman Empire to receive a sign saying Jambi was under the protection of the Ottoman Empire. The Museum Negeri Jambi indicates the year was 1880/1881 AD.  Most references indicate that this Jambi prime minister was “Datuk Abdul Aziz.” Instead of providing military support, the Ottoman’s instead gave Jambi a medallion to signify friendship.

The medallion, with the Islamic symbol of the crescent and star at the top.

On the way back to Jambi the prime minister stayed in Malaysia because he had learned that the Dutch had conquered Jambi and that Sultan Thaha had fled to Tebo. He feared that if  he returned to Jambi the Dutch would capture and imprison or exile him. Since that time the medallion remained in Malaysia with the descendants of that prime minister.

Medallion Returns to Jambi

On May 31, 2002 (after 122 years), the medallion was handed over to the Jambi governor, Zulkifli Nurdin. One reference indicates that the person who brought the medallion back to Jambi was Engku Zubir bin Engku Ja’far of Terengganu, Malaysia. Another reference indicates it was Datuk Haji Muhammad bin Haji Abdul Azis, of Johor Baharu, Malaysia.

In Arabic text, with calligraphy, the very center says: Muhammad is an apostle of God.
The Arabic word at the 12 o’clock position: Love
The Arabic word at the 3 o’clock position: Friendship
The Arabic at the 6 o’clock position: The Islamic year of 1298, or 1880/1881 AD.
The Arabic word at the 9 o’clock position: Those at the Islamic University in Jambi translated this word as “change.” The Museum Negeri Jambi has the word translated as “zeal.”

The reasons why Jambi’s Sultan Thaha made an appeal to the Ottomans.

  1. The Ottomans were the dominant power in the world at that time and they were also an Islamic empire. If anyone was to provide military assistance for Jambi it would have to have been the Ottomans.
  2. Appealing to Pan-Islamism, Jambi acknowledged they were in support of a one world Islamic ruler–the Ottoman Sultan. With this confession they hoped the Ottoman Caliph would step up and defend the Islamic Kingdom of Jambi.
  3. Jambi has a legendary figure who was said (myths) to have descended from an Ottoman sultan, his title was Datuk Paduka Berhala. From this one man all Jambi sultans were to have descended. Having this lineage, they felt they could appeal to the Ottomans for assistance.
    1. Quite strangely, Jambi still officially promotes the myth that this man was a descendant from an Ottoman sultan, although there is clear evidence otherwise. Click here to read our blog on that topic.
    2. Following the Austronesian cultural practice of idealizing their kings, Jambi also developed several “stranger-king” legends.*
      1. You can read one of Jambi’s legends that shows one of their kings originating from India.  Click this link to read it.
      2. Another legend shows yet another king (Tan Telanai) originating from Turkey. It can be read by clicking this link.
        • Other variations to this legend shows Tan Telanai originating from India, Malaysia, or Java, and not from Turkey, as the above legends states.

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This is one of the coins located on the chain around the necklace. Nobody knows the language of the words embossed on the coins, so we’re not able get it translated.

*The below quote describes the “stranger king” and is remarkably parallel with the story of Datuk Paduka Berhala.

“The tale of the ‘stranger king’ is told in some version in virtually every culture in the world. It is the tale of an immigrant king who deposes the former ruler and marries his daughter. The basic story line is as follows: The heroic son-in-law from a foreign land demonstrates his divine gifts, wins the daughter, and inherits half or more of the kingdom.”  Source

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