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Burial Grounds

Sultan Mausoleum complex of Kutai Kartanegara

Sultan Mausoleum complex of Kutai Kartanegara Sultanate is located in the area of Royal Palace and Mulawarman Museum. The complex is located at St. Diponegoro, Tenggarong, Kutai kartanegara Regency, East Kalimantan. This Mausoleum contains 142 graves of relatives and the Sultans of Kutai Kartanegara.

One of the Sultans who buried here is Sultan Aji Imbut known as Sultan Aji Muhammad Muslihuddin who reigned in 1739 until 1782. Aji Imbut is known as the founder of Tenggarong City. On September 28, 1782, Aji Imbut removed the central government of Kutai Kartanegara Sultanate from Pemarangan to Tepian Pandan. Sultan Aji Imbut changed the name of Tepian Pandan to Tangga Arung that means "House of the King". Hereinafter, the name of Tangga Arung was better known as Tenggarong and it was ultimately more familiar. This becomes one of the reasons for the Municipal Government of Tenggarong to hold a ceremony on visiting Sultan Mausoleum complex in every Tenggarong City’s anniversary commemorated on 28th September.  

Beside of Sultan Aji Imbut, the Sultan who was buried in this complex are Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman (1845-1899 AD), Sultan Aji Muhammad Salehudin (1782-1845 AD), Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman (1845-1899 AD), and Sultan Aji Muhammad Parikesit (1920-1960 AD) (Ramli Nawawi et.al., 1992/1993: 148). Sultan Aji Muhammad Parikesit is the last Sultan of Kutai Sultanate before the Sultanate territory merged into the Republic of Indonesia. While Sultan Aji Muhammad Alimudin (1899-1910 AD), was not buried in this place. He was buried on private land located in the Mount Gandek, Tenggarong.

Nisan (tomb) of the Sultans and the relatives were made of ironwood tree and engraved Arabic script. Viewed from various tombstones in this complex, there is an indication of culture meddling that reflected on the shape of gravestones. This influence came from the culture of Dayak, Bugis, Makassar, and Islam.

This Indication is attracting the academics and practitioners to conduct research. Balkis Khan, an archaeologist from the University of Indonesia, Faculty of Humanities (FIB UI) conducting studies to uncover cultural assimilation reflected through the decoration of the gravestone in Sultan Mausoleum complex. His thesis, entitled “Keragaman Nisan dan jirat kompleks makam Raja Kutai abad 18-20, Tenggarong, Kalimantan Timur: Ditinjau dari aspek hiasan” (The tomb diversity of Sultan Mausoleum complex in the period of 18th until 20th, Tenggarong, East Kalimantan: Viewed from decoration aspect). This thesis is the result of research by conducting comparative approach to identification of the Tomb of Sultan at six sites which used the decoration of Bugis culture (Watan LAMURU and Binamu), Makassar (Gowa, Tallo, and Jere LompoE), and Dayak (1 location).

Based on the research at six burial sites by performing a comparative approach to identification with the Mausoleum of Sultan Kutai, there are several conclusions that are the ornamentation found on tombstones in the Mausoleum of Kutai Sultan absorbed the element of other cultures like the culture of Bugis, Makassar, Dayak, and Islam. Cultural mixing is evident from the uniqueness of each culture represented and reflected in the tomb of Kutai Sultan. These particularities are:

  1. Makassar: strand of rose, rose, flower bulb, circle, swastika, tumpal, lozenge, and snake
  2. Bugis: star, lozenge, strand of rose, tumpal, and bludgeon
  3. Dayak: molding, rose, mace (blontang), and snakes
  4. Islamic influences: calligraphy, latticework swastika and stilir tail, mirror frame, head and body of snake

The influence of several cultures can be traced through several things, such as government (royal policy), which gives freedom to the influx of immigrants and cultural kinship between the ruling factor with other ethnic groups outside Borneo Island. The factor of government (royal policy) that provides a place for the entry of foreign cultures and provides a place for indigenous cultures (Dayak) be reflected by the Sultanate guidelines called “Panji Salaten”. Panji Salaten mentions about granting freedom of ethnic immigrants and native to preserve and develop its own culture. Through these freedoms, the various cultures can mix and generate cross-cultural acculturation.

On the other hand, heredity rulers in Kutai Kartanegara Sultanate also affect an acculturation. For example, Sultan Aji Muhammad Idris (1732-1739 AD), is the son in law of Sultan Wajo La Madukelleng, a nobleman from Bugis in South Sulawesi. Similarly, his two sons, Prince Aji Imbut and Aji Kado are the grandson of Sultan Wajo La Madukelleng. Aji Imbut was inaugurated as the Sultan of Kutai Kartanegara entitled Sultan Aji Muhammad Muslihuddin (1739 to 1782). The relationship between Kutai Kartanegara Sultanate with Wajo (Bugis), directly or indirectly has influenced on cultural development of Kutai Kartanegara.

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