Selasa, 22 Disember 2009

Langkasuka (लंकासुख)

(2nd century CE –14th century)

Confederation of Langkasuka and all of its city states

Langkasuka was one of the earliest Malay kingdoms located at the Malay isthmus. The most detailed description of the kingdom is found in the Liang – Shu, a Chinese historical book written by Chang Chun during the reign of the 7th century Sui Emperor Yang Di. Referred to as Lang-ya-xiu (狼牙脩), Chang Chun described Langkasuka as one of the earliest individual states in South East Asia, a Malay Kingdom. The kingdom’s frontiers were described as thirty days’ journey from east to west, and twenty from north to south and 24,000 li in distance from Guangzhou. Its capital was said to be surrounded by walls to form a city with double gates, towers and pavilions. The capital of the kingdom was described as having triple gates more than a hundred paces apart painted with images of Bodhisattva and hung with flowers and bells, to the rear of the king's couch there is a wooden shrine inlaid with gold, silver and five perfumed woods, and behind the shrine is suspended a golden light, several hundred Brahmans sit in rows facing each other on the eastern and western sides.

Depiction of the fortress of Langkasuka in the 2008 Thai movie, “Queens of Langkasuka” (though the movie loosely based on the history of the successor of Langkasuka, the Patani Sultanate)

Slightly earlier, the History of the Liang Dynasty 502-566 seems to support a Malay tradition that Langkasuka was founded at the end of the first century in the neighbourhood of what was later called Pattani. Lang Ya Shu proved to be of great economic importance, partly due to the existence of an overland trade route or portage across the Isthmus.

The description of the kingdom can also be found in the records of the later Chinese dynasties : it was known as "Lang-ya-se-chia" during the Song dynasty (960-1279); "Long-ya-si-jiao" during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368); and "Lang-se-chia" during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), as evidenced by the Mao Kun map of Admiral Zheng He.

Tamil sources name "Ilangasoka" as one of Rajendra Chola's conquests in his expedition against the Srivijaya Empire. It was described as a kingdom that that was "undaunted in fierce battles". The Majapahit epic of 1365, the Nagarakartagama, claimed that Lengkasuka as a west coast state subject to the overlordship of Majapahit (though it is more likely that Majapahit’s power only limited to east Java and south Sumatera).

The most important piece of evidence as to its location is provided by the Wu Pei Chih, which firmly places a Lang-Hsi-Chia to the south of Singgora (Songkhla), up to the Patani river.

Early Malay literature, however, is quite explicit in indicating a location on the west coast. Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa claims that Langkasuka was founded at Kedah by King Merong Mahawangsa, and later moved to Pattani.

King Merong Mahawangsa came upon good land, very beautifully situated. He did not return to his ships, so eager was he to build a fort and a hall, very large and beautiful. When the palace hall was completed, he called it “Langkasuka”..

Thereupon King Merong Mahapodisat [son of Mahawangsa] made his son mount the elephant Gemala Johari..The elephant raised its head and set off towards the rising sun, accompanied by the ministers, commanders and soldiers. They entered a vast forest; later a plain came into sight. The king, on the elephant Gemala Johari, crossed several hills and mountains. After some time, when they had almost reached the sea, they came upon a great river flowing into the sea. On that plain the elephant Gemala Johari stopped.

The princess consort said, “Go back to Kedah, to my royal father, and tell him that this is the country called Patani”..Now the King Sari Mahawangsa did not wish to stay at Langkasuka as it was very far from the sea. So he ordered his four ministers to gather lime and mussel-shells with which to build a fortress downstream, for the river was big and wide, broadening out and with a very swift current. The ministers carried out the royal command. King Sari Mahawangsa unceasingly visited the downstream area where the moated fortress was to be built. Upstream in that area he built a small palace called Sirukum.

It is clear from the passages that Langkasuka has passed into Malay folklore as a west-coast kingdom, the predecessor of modern Kedah, with its capital at the foot of mount Jerai. The evident association of its rulers with Patani “beyond the forests and hills” may suggest a kingdom that spanned the peninsular to the east coast, where most of the Chinese accounts place Langkasuka.

The chronicles of Nakorn Si Thammarat and the chronicles of the Phra Dhatu Nakorn, described the existence of a chain of twelve inter-linked cities known as Naksat cities of the ancient empire of Langkasuka. Around 13th C AD, eleven of the twelve cities have been identified and are all located on the Malay Peninsula. The eleven cities with their associated animal "years" are

1) Menara (Rat) (Modern day Narathiwat province, Thailand)

2) Patani (Ox) (Modern day Pattani province, Thailand)

3) Kelantan (Tiger), (Modern day Kelantan Sultanate, Malaysia)

4) Kedah (Big Snake) (Modern day Kedah Sultanate, Malaysia)

5) Mardelong (Little Snake) (Modern day Phathalung Province, Thailand)

6) Terang (Horse) (Modern day Trang province, Thailand)

7) Chumpon (Goat) (Modern day Chumporn province, Thailand)

8) Gerbi (Monkey) (Modern day Krabi province, Thailand)

9) Kanchanadit (Chicken) (Modern day Kanchanadit province, Thailand)

10) Bukit or Kupa (Dog) (Modern day Phuket or Takuapa province, Thailand)

11) Segenting Kra (Pig). (Modern day Kraburi province, Thailand)

The missing city, Muang Pahang (Modern day Pahang Sultanate, Malaysia), is associated with the Year of the Rabbit. It has also been speculated that Kota Gelanggi (believed to be located in modern day Johor, Malaysia) is the twelfth city.

In 515 A.D., King Bhagadatta first established relations with China, with further emissaries sent in 523, 531 and 568. In 12th century, Langkasuka was a tributary to the Srivijaya empire, and around 15th century it was succeeded by the Pattani Sultanate.

In 1957, the name “Langkasuka” was mooted by Malaysian founding fathers as a possible name for independent Persekutuan Tanah Melayu (Federation of Malaya).

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