The Royal prerogatives

“Sultan Muhammed Shah[1] again established in order the throne of his sovereignty. He was the first who prohibited the wearing of yellow clothes in public, not even a handkerchief of that colour, nor curtains, nor hangings, nor large pillow-cases, nor  coverlets, nor any envelope of any bundle, nor the cloth lining of a house, excepting only the waist cloth, the coat, and the turban.

“He also prohibited the constructing  of houses with abutments, or smaller houses connected with them; also suspended pillars or timbers (tiang gantong]; nor timbers the tops of which project above the roofs, and also summer houses.

“He also prohibited the ornamenting of creeses with gold, and the wearing anklets of gold, and the wearing the koronchong, or hollow bracelets of gold, ornamented with silver. None of these prohibited articles did he permit to be worn by a person, however rich he might be, unless by his particular licence, a privilege which the raja has ever since possessed.

“He also forbade any one to enter the palace unless wearing a cloth petticoat 2 of decent length, with his creese[2] in front; and a shoulder-cloth; and no person was permitted to enter unless in this array, and if any one wore his creese behind him, it was incumbent on the porter of the gate to seize it.

“Such is the order of former time respecting prohibition by the Malayu rajas, and whatever is contrary to this is a transgression against the raja, and ought to incur a fine of five cati.

“The white umbrella, which is superior to the yellow one, because it is seen conspicuous at a greater distance, was also confined to the raja’s person,  while the yellow umbrella was confined to his family.”

Glossary:
1. Sultan Muhammed Shah – likely in reference to the 14th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Muhammad Shah ibni Yang Dipertuan Muda Mansur Shah (1744-50)
2. creese – keris, Malay dagger

Source: Skeat, William Walter. Malay Magic- An Introduction To The Folklore and Popular Religion Of The Malay Peninsula. MacMillan: London; 1900.

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