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The Sultanate

Colonial Rule

Provinsi Kalimantan Selatan



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Today’s South Kalimantan is a part of former Bajar Sultanate. The capital of the sultanate was Banjermasin but later it was moved to Martapura. Islam was introduced during the reign of Raden Samudra (1520-’46) who was converted in 1526 and adopted the title of  Sultan Surianshah.

At first the sultanate was tributary to Demak on Java but it became sovereign after its eclipse. Projects to restore Javanese supremacy in Borneo in the beginning of the 17th century failed.

The golden age of Banjar was the 17th century when the pepper trade flourished and most of Borneo paid tribute to the sultanate.

In the course of a conflict within the ruling dynasty the help of Bugis forces was called in by one of the quarreling parties in 1757 and of the VOC by the party on the other side. After  the Bugis were defeated by VOC forces a treaty between the VOC and Banjar was concluded.  The leader of one of the factions was banned to Ceylon.

The interference of the Company ushered in the decline of the sultanate.

As a result of the treaty and later treaties the territory of Banjermasin was reduced to what is now South Kalimantan Province through the loss of Landak, Sambas, Bulungan, Kutai, Pasir, Pagatan and Kotawaringin. In 1860 the Sultanate was abolished altogether and replaced by a regency. In its turn this regency was abolished in 1884 and replaced by the Banjermasin Division (Afdeeling Banjermasin).

During WWII Borneo Government, then called Borneo Kaigun Minseibu was governed by the Japanese navy.

Right after Indonesia's proclamation of independence (August 17, 1945), the government under Soekarno and Hatta appointed Ir. H. Pangeran Muhammad Noor as the governor of Borneo Government on August 18, 1945. The capital was Banjarmasin. Soon however the Dutch could restore their rule in large parts of the island which were well disposed to them. This was realized amongst others by the Territoriaal en Troepen Commando Zuid & Oost Borneo under the jurisdiction of the Commando van de Groote Oost en Borneo residing in Makassar. As a result the states of Kotawaringin, Dayak Besar (Great Dayak), Daerah Banjar (Banjar Territory), and the Federation of Southeast Kalimantan were proclaimed in former Borneo Government.

In 1950 these states were abolished and became a part of the Republic of Indonesia. On 7 December 1956 the province of South Kalimantan was formed of these areas. Later Pasir (a part of Southeast Kalimantan Federation) was integrated into the province of East Kalimantan. On 23 May 1957 Kotawaringin and Dayak Besar were separated from South Kalimantan to form their own province of Central Kalimantan. 


Sultans of Banjar





Hidayatullah I


Mustain Billah








Suryanata II


Amrullah Bagus


Tahmidullah I


Kasuma Dilaga




Tamjidullah I




Tahmidullah II


Saidullah II


Tamjidullah II




Sultanate abolished  1860




The Sultanate



Probably because of the early abolition of the sultanate very little has been preserved of the pusaka’s, regalia and other emblems of state of Banjar Sultanate.


A part of the royal regalia, dating from the 19th c., was a gilded iron shield decorated with a sun of 16 rays strongly reminding the Majapahit sun. This sun is the emblem of the Banjar Empire.

We may suppose that in the time of Majapahit and Demak suzerainty the hindu-buddhist and islamic political symbols were used. These could have been the Vishnu-garuda combination symbolizing the (central) royal government or a sun symbolizing the empire. Military governors may have been symbolized by lions. No insignia of rank of lower ranking officials like the Banjar vassals however are known.

When islamic rulers of Banjar had gained independence from Demak it is possible that they used the islamic sun, moon and star system. Military command can have been symbolized by the two-pointed sword Dhu ‘l Fakr.  From this system the Banjermasin shield is an example.


Shield, 19th century, Banjermasin, Kalimantan.

Gold, iron. Æ 46.5 cm H. 9.3 cm. Museum Nasional, Jakarta, inv. no. E315.[1]



The flag and achievement for the inauguration of the Raja of Banjar Sultanate (2005) may be an indication that the islamic system was used indeed. On the other hand it contains some symbols that are difficult to interprete as they seem to originate from a Chinese system of symbols. It would be interesting to know more about the time and manner of creation of  these emblems.


Flag of  Banjar Sultanate


The emblem on the flag is:


Emblem: A chinese dragon affrontée supporting a flag-staff with the pennon of Indonesia between eight pajong, the exterior ones topped with a crescent.

Crest: Two five-pointed stars and a crescent.

Supporters: Two pegasus’

Compartment: A mountain-ridge.


Colonial Rule



In the time of VOC-, Dutch- and Japanese rule the symbols of these powers were also valid in Banjar, the emblem of the Japanese Navy being an anchor charged with a cherry-blossom mon (Sakura)


After WW II the Territoriaal en Troepen Commando Zuid & Oost Borneo (Territorial and Army Command South and East Broneo) was encamped on Borneo and helped to restore Dutch rule.



This TTC had as its arms:  Sable, two mandaus blades Or and hilts Argent in saltire.


These arms were also used by XIII and XIV Batallion Infantry KNIL when active on Borneo.


The arms were adopted by decision Clg 283/GS/35 dated 11-07-1946.


As a result the Territory of Banjar (Daerah Banjar) was established on 14 January 1948. This territory was incoprorated into the Republic of Indonesia on 4 April 1950.


Provinsi Kalimantan Selatan

1956.12.07 - present


The present arms of Kalimantan Selatan were adopted by decree No 10 of  9 April 1963.

An introduction by the Governor of South Kalimantan reads:






A Preface by the Governor of South Kalimantan


Dear Reader,


In my function as Head of the Provincial Government of South Kalimantan, I wish to express my joy and my gratitude to God the Almighty that the Province of South Kalimantan has been able to introduce its official emblem, which describes symbolically the honour and dignity of its people, in the same manner other provinces did before.


The emblem was adopted by the House of Representatives of South Kalimantan by Provincial Decree N° 10, 1963 dated April 9 1963.


I would like to thank sincerely the author and designer of the emblem.


Dear Reader,


The emblem of the Province of South Kalimantan has its origins in the local heritage which is unique in itself and is characteristic of South Kalimantan.


We all know that our national culture has its roots in local cultures and that, therefore, our national culture is developed from different local, regional or ethnic cultures.


Through the emblem described in this booklet, we may conclude that the Province of South Kalimantan is an integral part of the Indonesian nation, that she has since ancient times developed a great civilisation of which she can be proud, and therefore will make an important contribution to the development of Indonesian civilisation.


The Provincial Emblem of the Government of South Kalimantan as adopted by Provincial Decree  N° 10 1963, dated April 9 1963, expresses that the people of South Kalimantan is heroic and courageous, has a firm faith in God the Almighty and is zealous to fulfill its duties.


Finally I hope that the emblem will be accepted as part of our communal identity and that it will be felt that it is our duty to keep its spirit of progress alive. With it we may march towards realizing the prosperity of Indonesia, inspired by the principles of Pancasila.


Thank You,


The Governor of South Kalimantan [2]


and the decree reads:



Provincial Decree N° 10, 1963


The House of representatives of South Kalimantan approves the following decree under the name of


Provincial Decree on the Provincial Emblem of South Kalimantan.




Description of the Emblem


Section 1

1. The Emblem of the Province of South Kalimantan is a red and green shield within a yellow frame.

a) A shield is a defensive weapon and symbolizes alertness and the ability to defend oneself heroically

b) Red symbolizes valour, courage and heriosm, life and readiness to struggle for prosperity, blessed by wisdom and Divine favour.

c) Green symbolizes fertility and hope for the future of South Kalimantan.

d. The yellow frame symbolizes the conviction that the people of South Kalimantan is dignified and honourable and is steadfast in its Faith to God Almighty.


2. On the shield are depicted the following symbols:

a ) A golden star symbolizing God Almighty and Omniscient.

b ) A black traditional Banjarese house

1. The House is a specific building in the tradition of South Kalimantan it symbolizes the  culture which should be highly regarded.

2. Black symbolizes the unshakable determination and capacity to nationbuilding. 

                c) A shining diamond

1.The diamond symbolizes the well-known natural wealth of South Kalimantan

2. The white sparks symbolize that the people of South Kalimantan, if under good guidance, will achieve welfare and prospertity and is capable to carry out all reforms and development programs for the glory of Indonesia.

d ) The ear of rice and the rubbertree symbolize the local food- and trade crops.

e) The ear of rice with 17 grains, the diamond with 8 sparks, the rubbertree with the nine cuts, 4 at the left and 5 at the right make the date 17. 8. 1945, the date of the proclamation of the Republic of Indonesia to which the People of South Kalimantan is loyal.

f ) The white ribbon symbolizes the readiness to accept anything useful respectfully and honourably and to act truthfully and responsible to keep communal and social life in harmony.

g ) The motto WAJA SAMPAI KAPUTING means “Steady until the End” and expresses that the people of South Kalimantan is hard-working and abides by responsibility to the end. 


Section 2.

Form, colours, and all figures of the emblem in their relative measurements mentioned in Section 1 are given in the supplement to this Decree and can be increased or decreased according to need.




The Use of the Provincial Emblem


Section 3.

1. The Provincial Emblem should be attached

a ) at all buildings or parts of buildings used by the Provincial Government of South Kalimantan and at the buildings of offices in direct relation tot the Government of South Kalimantan.

b )  at the residences of the governor, the vice-governor, the chairman of the House of Representatives, and of the staff members and officers of the government of the province.

c )  at the working rooms of the governor, the vice-governor, the chairman of the House of Representatives, of the staff members and officers and of the heads of offices directly related to the Government of South Kalimantan and at the assembly room of the House of Repersentatives.

d ) at the vehicles of the officers mentioned overhead.


2.  The proportion of the emblem mentioned in Section 1 should be in harmony with the size of the buildings and  vehicles referred to in Section 2

3 ) In case that the National Emblem has to be used together with the Provincial Emblem, the Provincial emblem should not exceed the size of the National Emblem.


Section 4.

1. Taking into account the measurements mentioned in Section 2, the Provincial Emblem can be made or printed and used for the following purposes:

a. As a letterheading for

1. Official letters and proclamations of the Province of South Kalimantan

2. Diploms, certificates and letters of reference issued by the Government of South Kalimantan and its offices.

3. Books, magazines and other publications of the Government of the Province of South Kalimantan.

                b. For the great seal of the House of Representatives of the Province of South Kalimantan.

c. As a vehicle license number and on other belonginges of the Province of South Kalimantan.

2. The colours mentioned in Section 1 can be abandoned for a monochomatic version of the emblem.

3. As for the letterheadings the forms and sizes should be in accordance with the sections 1. and 2.


Section 5.

The Provincial Emblem as a badge can be worn by:

a. Officers of the Province of South Kalimantan.

b. Memebers of the Gotong Royong  House of Representatives.

c) Members of the clergy of  the Province of South Kalimantan.


Section 6.

1. The Provincial Emblem on a banner can be used

a ) at cultural and sportive events in South Kalimantan and elsewhere where the Provincial Governement has sent a delegation 

b ) at formal meetings where the Provincial government is represented

c ) at meetings of the Provicial government and its offices.

2. If the Provincial Emblem is used on a banner its proportions should be in accordance with the harmony mentioned in Section 2




Section 7

The use of the Emblem by the Public


The use and reproduction of the Emblem by any private person, except by special permission from the Governor of South Kalimantan, is prohibited.




Prohibitions and Sanctions


Section 8

1. It is not allowed to use the Provincial Emblem in contradiction to the prescriptions of this Decree.

2. The adding of words, numbers or other figures to the Emblem will be prosecuted.

3. The use of the Emblem for commercial or political purposes is prohibited.


Section 9.

No personal or corporate emblem, be it of a union, an organization or a concern, may be like or similar to the Provincial Emblem of South Kalimantan.


Section 10.

Any offender against the rules laid down in the Sections 7, 8 and 9 will be prosecuted and will be imprisoned for at most one month or fined for at most Rp. 1000.




Section 11

The Rules in this Decree can be cited as:

Provincial Decree on the Emblem of the Province of South Kalimantan and valuable from the first day of the publication of the very Decree.


Banjermasin, 9th of April 1963


The House of Representatives


The Province of South Kalimantan


On her behalf




ð See illustration in the head of this essay.






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© Hubert de Vries 2010-01-31

[1] ) From: Ibbitson Jessup, Helen: Court Arts of Indonesia. The Asia Society Galleries. New York, 1990

[2] ) This is an adaptation of the original preface in english by the Governor. Probably printed in Banjermasin, not dated (1963).

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