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Early Emblems

After the Aceh War

Present Emblem

The Legion of Mangku Negoro


Back to Surakarta




Part of the armed forces of Surakarta were under the command of the Mangku Negoro (also spelled Mangkunegara). In February 1757 rebellious Raden Mas Said submitted his army to Pakubuwono III and swore allegiance to the rulers of Surakarta, Yogyakarta, and the Dutch East Indies Company. As a compensation he received a hereditary appanage of 4000 households on Surakarta territory. His dalem (palace) was built in the city of Surakarta. Raden Mas Said (Mangku Negoro I (1757-’96)) was paid by the V.O.C. until the end of the 18th century. In the time of the Batavian Republic the corps was refounded in 1803. It was named the “Legion of the Mangku Negoro” by Daendels in 1808. As a result of the surrender to the English the Legion was disbanded on 17 September 1811 but re-established on 13 Februari 1812.


The Legion fought in the Java wars (1825 -’30) and in Aceh (1873-’74). It was valued to be one of the best corpses of Java and served to suppress insurrections in 1921 and in 1926.

After WWII the Legion was revived again in 1949 with the name of Territoriaal Bataljon Soerakarta. It was transferred to the Republic in 1950.




Rulers of Mangkunegaran

Mangkunegara I (Raden Mas Said)

1757 - 1796

Mangkunegara II

1796 - 1835

Mangkunegara III

1835 - 1853

Mangkunegara IV

1853 - 1881

Mangkunegara V

1881 - 1896

Mangkunegara VI

1896 - 1916

Mangkunegara VII

1916 - 1944

Mangkunegara VIII

1944 - 1987

Mangkunegara IX,

1987 - present



A banner or flag was granted to the Mangku Negoro II (1796-1835) in 1813. It consisted of two breadths green and yellow. [1]



Flag of the Mangku Negoro adopted 1813.


Early Arms and Cyphers


The Cypher of the Mangku Negoro most of the time consisted of the combined latin letters M and N. These were crowned with European heraldic rank-crowns but obviously the Mangkunegaran (or the Netherlands Indies Government) was not sure about the exact rank that should be symbolized. For that reason the cypher was crowned with different crowns respectively:

1. The crown of a French Comte Pair

2. The crown of a German Duke

3. The crown of a Dutch Duke

4. The crown of a Dutch Prince

5. The Dutch Royal crown


Also the other pieces of the achievement seem to have been a matter of discussion. In its most simple form a cartouche was used to surround the cypher. In another case this was crested by a shining six-pointed star.

A full (European) heraldic achievement with supporters and mantling is known from the third and the fourth Mangkunegoro.

A last version shows the cypher surrounded by a garland of oak and laurel.[2]



The Cyphers MN crowned with a French Comte Pair (left) and a German Ducal crown (right)


An achievement Dutch style was on the doors of the carriage of Mangku Negoro IV (1853-’81) and consisted of the cypher IV on a blue shield, crowned by a Dutch ducal crown, supported by two lions and surrounded by an equally crowned mantle. [3]




This achievement, seems to have been an innovation of the manufacturer of the carriage and its use has not been continued by the successors of Mangku Negoro IV.


Achievement on the Kyai Condroretno (Jewel Moon, Shining Moon) 1850-’60.

Shield, supporters and mantle are crowned with a princely crown, the shield, hatched blue, is defaced.


Cypher MB IV crowned with a Dutch royal crown, surrounded by a garland of oak and laurel.


The introduction of the Basukarna-crown.



Clearly to make an end to the confusion about how the rank of the Mangku Negoro exactly was symbolized, a new crown of Javanese fashion was introduced. This crown was derived from the crown of the wayang character Basukarna or Adipati Karna (ill. left). It corresponds with the Javanese title of Pangèran Adipati aria, that is to say the title of the oldest son of a gundik, one of the secundary wives of the sultan, borne by the Mangku Negoro as well as by the Pakualam. A Pangèran Adipati aria is not a prince in the European sense of the word and: “because as “prince” is an European title, it is not allowed to call these Javanese nobles a prince, as nevertheless often is done”. [4]



Crowned arms charged with the Mangkunegoro cypher within a garland of oak and laurel.

On the tympanon of the Dalem Mangkunegara, finished by Mangku Negoro IV.


Crowned cypher on the Kyai Condroretno (1850-’60)

New crown, garland of leaves

Emblem of the Mangku Negoro IV (1853-‘81)

In his Dalem in Surakarta,

 the garland of Javanese style [5]


Initially the cypher consisted of two separated letters M and N, later surrounded by a garland of oak and laurel. Still later the two letters were intertwined and the garland was made of cotton branches and ears of rice, tied with a ribbon in the colors of Solo and charged on the junction with a bow and arrow in saltire. This can be considered to be the next phase in the Javanization of the emblem after the introduction of the Basukarna-crown.


The Emblem of the Mangku Negoro after the Aceh Wars 1873-‘74


A thoroughly new emblem was introduced by Mangku Negoro IV at the end of his reign.

The cypher was completely redesigned in late 19th century style. The garland was abandoned and replaced by a sun radiant, referring to the Mataram and Surakarta empires.


Cypher of Mangku Negoro IV

On the door of his carriage Barouchet (1860-’80)

Cypher of Mangku Negoro V (1881-1896)

On the door of his carriage, 1890.


Reconstruction H.d.V

Emblem of Mangku Negoro V, as on his carriage


Emblem of Mangku Negoro VIII  [6]


Emblem of Mangku Negoro IX (1985-present)


The emblem of the present Mangku Negoro is a combination of the crowned cypher and garland of Mangku Negoro IV and the sun introduced by Mangku Negoro V. It is:

Emblem: An eight pointed sun radiant Or, charged with the cypher MN Vert.

Garland:  A garland of cotton-branches and rice-stalks, tied with a ribbon Argent and Gules, the junction charged with a bow-and-arrow in saltire.


ð See illustration in the head of this essay


The Legion of the Mangku Negoro


A (new) banner was granted in 1838 to Mangku Negoro III (1835-’53). This was of orange silk with golden fringes and charged in the middle with the cypher “W” in golden embroidery. On the reverse was the name of the legion in Dutch and Javanese. Its staff ended in a golden spearhead with two golden tassels. [7]

Such a banner was also granted to the Paku Alam Legion and the Barisan Corps.


In the time of Mangku Negoro IV the Legion Mangkunegoro was dressed in Dutch style uniforms. The cap badge consisted of  a metal plate of the full achievement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Besides their own pennons the Infantry Battalion bore the royal standard of the Netherlands, being of three stripes red, white and blue, and the royal achievement in the white breadth, as can be seen on this photography





ï Officers of the infantry of the Legion of the Mangkunegaran in Surakarta, 1866

From: Wachlin, Steven: Woodbury and Page, Photographers Java. Leiden 1994, p.126 (detail).


The achievement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was also on the tympanon of the entrance of the barracks of the Legion, build 1874 in the Mangku Negoro compound or Dalem, where it remained until the end of Dutch rule.



MN-Legion soldier in traditional dress [8]

In the time of Mangku Negoro IV or V the cap badge was changed. It showed a royally crowned shield, charged with the cypher of the MN.

Cap Badge of the Mangkunegaran Legion

(Reconstruction, colours uncertain)


In the middle of the 30-ties of the 20th century the achievement of the Netherlands for the legion was replaced. The new emblem is on the entrance of the  barracks of the Dalem and consist of a twelve-pointed sun radiant, charged with the cypher of the Mangku Negoro MN. Below is a pair of wings. [9]


Photo Timur Tunggadewa

Emblem above the gate of the Barracks of the Dalem, about 1937.


In 1949, after WWI, the Legion was revived with the name of Territoriaal  Bataljon Soerakarta.


Arms of the Mangku Negoro Auxiliaries


The emblem of that Legion consisted of the cypher of the Mangku Negoro ‘MN’, worn on the shoulder by the officers and on the collar by the lower ranks.

On the civil dress a red, white and blue shield was worn charged with the emblem of the Mangku Negoro, being the crowned vice-royal cypher ‘MN’ within a garland of waringin branches. [10]



Its cap badge probably was like the badge illustrated above and was of the same form as the emblem of Mangku Negoro VIII.



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© Hubert de Vries 2011-05-16

Updated 2011-07-18; 2011-08-09



[1] Rühl, Dirk: Vlaggen van den Oost-Indischen Archipel (1600-1942). In: Jaarboek van het Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie. Dl. VI, 1952. pp. 136-148.

[2] Six photographs of these cyphers and achievements made by Timur Tunggadewa.

[3] Haaxman, Pieter Alardus: De Koets van Mangkoe Nagoro IV. Ca 1870. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum inv. nr. SK-A-4968. Vos, H.B.: Kratonkoetsen op Java. Amsterdam, 1986. This carriage usually is thought to have been of Mangku Negoro IV (1853-1881) even when his cypher was not a rank cypher  “IV” but the cypher MN. Also: De Nederlandse Ontmoeting met Azië, pp. 309-311.

[4] According to the Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch Indië. Martinus Nijhoff. Den Haag, 1921-1939. Pp. 1126-27

[5] The date 1866 is not explained but may be the date of the introduction of the emblem

[6] Detail from:  http://kitlv.pictura-dp.nl/index.php?option=com_memorix&Itemid=28&task=topview&cp=5&CollectionID=1&RecordID=29837&PhotoID=KLV001075421

[7] Cats, B.C.: Hulpkorpsen in voormalig Nederlands-Indië: hun uniformering en onderscheidingstekenen [1812-1942]. In: Armamentaria 1988,  pp. 149-171

[8] Detail from http://kitlv.pictura-dp.nl/index.php?option=com_memorix&Itemid=28&task=topview&cp=5&CollectionID=1&RecordID=29845&PhotoID=KLV001075430

[9] Between 1933 and 1938. See: Indisch Militair Tijdschrift, 1938, p. 865. (Info: Timur Tunggadewa). For unknown reasons a clock is on the place of the sun and v.v..

[10] Cats, B.C.: ibid.

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