This article observes the imagery of Nusantara in the report of Nicolò Conti (ca. 1395-1469) a Venetian traveller and merchant of the first half of the 15th century. The merchant's itinerary contains a brief description of the Malay-Indonesian world - a product of a dialogue between a merchant himself and a humanist Poggio Bracciolini. Conti reported about his visits to Sumatra, “two Javas” (probably, Java and Borneo or Java and Southern Sumatra) and Champa. The merchant perceived Nusantara mainly as a region of violence and unbridled morals, he described a scene of amuk in details. This traveller also paid particular attention to the valuable merchandise of the region: spices and exotic plants and animals, including the Moluccan parrots. However, Conti's account lacks any mentions of the states, rulers or palaces in the Malay-Indonesian region. This distinguishes his account from many other sources on Nusantara (Chinese and Muslim ones). Conti's silence about the political entities or kings of Nusantara makes localization or identifying of some certain features of the region rather difficult. Conti's lack of attention to the religious practices of Nusantara contrast with his deep attention the Hindu traditions of the South Asia. The understanding of Conti's specific social milieu can explain the reasons of his silence about such important issues. In general, Conti's image of Nusantara is mainly an extreme confine of the world, marked with notable but terrifying features.
|Translated title of the contribution||AMOK, PARROTS AND A MAGIC TREE: THE WORLD OF NUSANTARA AS DESCRIBED BY A 15TH CENTURY VENETIAN MERCHANT|
|Number of pages||26|
|Issue number||1 (3)|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
- 03.00.00 HISTORY AND HISTORICAL SCIENCES
Level of Research Output
- VAK List