i2o H. Ling Roth.aNatives of Sarawak and Brit. 7. Borneo.
apparently the survival of an alphabetical writing anciently known there and afterwards forgotten. We find a similar writing on an earthenware vase from the same island belonging to the Ethnographical Museum of Dresden.6 This vase, as far as I can remember from a sketch communicated to me by Mr. A. W. Franks [Sir Wollaston Franks], is ornamented with two figures of the Chinese dragon, but not Chinese make. Dr. Kern has published some
inscriptions found at Koutei in the same island, which are written in the character of Eastern India, the Vengi Chalukya in Kalinga, the same that was carried to Cambodia, to Western Java and elsewhere. . . ."7 Further on Prof, de la Couperie continues (p. 131) : " On a former writing of Borneo,8 the Chinese records of 977 a.d. give the following information. It is about a letter written by the native King, Hiangta of Fig. 1. Puni (Western coast of Borneo), to the Chinese
ruler. The letter was enclosed in different small bags, which were sealed, and it was not written on Chinese paper, but on what looked like very thin bark of a tree ; it was glossy, slightly green, several feet long and somewhat broader than one inch, and rolled up so tightly that it could be taken within the hand. The characters in which it was written were small and had to be read horizontally.9
In an appreciative review of the Professor's book in the Athenaeum (No. 3518, March 30, 1895) ^ the author shows that the history of
writing " is by no means one of progress only, from no writing to pictures, from pictures to phonetics, but that he has discovered not a few instances of graphic systems impeded or decayed, where adverse conditions, such as want of intelligence or want of use, caused the higher thing to degenerateathe honest attempt to write decaying into pictures or charms, and showing in one more department of the world's history a case of failure in the struggle for life. His examples from the Anos, Lolos, and Dyaks seem certain enough ; his argument that Chinese writing is another example is not so convincing. . .
The reviewer's conclusion about the Dyaks (so called) is true enough when the late Professor's statements only are taken into consideration, but unfortunately the facts on which the Professor's statements are based are not
6 I was acquainted with this inscription through a facsimile sent to my learned friends Col. H. Yule and Dr. R. Rost by Dr. A. B. Meyer, Keeper of the Museum. This writing is not without some apparent connection with one of the writings of Sumatra. . . . [D.L.C.J
7 Over de opschriften uit Koetei in verband met de geschiedenis van het schrift in den Indischen Archipel. 8vo. Amsterdam, 1882, p. 18.aAlso K. F. Holle, Tabel van Oud- en Nieuw-Indische Alphabet ten. Bijdrage tot de palaeographie van Nederlandsch Indi (800, Batavia 1882). No 80-1 [D.L.C.I
8 The vase and its inscription mentioned above is published in the splendid work of Dr. A. B. Meyer, Alterthumer aus dem ostindischen Archipel (Leipzig, 1884, fol ), p. 7 and pl. XI. fig. 4.
9 W. P. Groeneveldt, Notes on the Malay Archipelago and Malacca, compiled from Chinese Sources, p. 109. [D.L.C.]9 W. P. Groeneveldt, Notes on the Malay Archipelago and Malacca, compiled from Chinese Sources, p. 109. [D.L.C.]