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Special Territory of Yogyakarta

The Sultanate of Yogyakarta

Armed Forces



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The Yogyakarta Sultanate was formed in 1755 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) by the Treaty of Giyanti. The treaty split the Sultanate of Mataram into the Sultanate of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat with Yogyakarta as the capital and the Sultanate of Surakarta Hadiningrat with Surakarta (now commonly known as Solo) as the capital. Sultan Hamengkubuwono I spent the next 37 years building the new capital of Yogyakarta, with the Kraton as the centerpiece and the court at Surakarta as the blueprint model. By the time he died in 1792, his territory exceeded Surakarta’s.

The territory of Yogyakarta was the nucleus of the Republic of Indonesia after the proclamation of independence on 17 August 1945. About a coat of arms for this Republic was deliberated but after all nothing happened.

In September 1945, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX and Sri Paku Alam VIII, both of Yogyakarta, declared their sultanates part of the Republic of Indonesia.

When the Dutch reoccupied Jakarta during the struggle to regain their empire overseas, the capital of the Republic was moved to Yogyakarta from January 1946 to August 1950. In return for the support of the sultan, a Special Authority over Yogyakarta was granted in full in 1950 and the region became its own province within the province of Central Java.


Mataram-Yogyakarta (Sultanate)


Sultans of Yogyakarta

Hamengkubuwono I Swarga


Hamengkubuwono II Sepuh


Hamengkubuwono III Radja


Hamengkubuwono II Sepuh


Hamengkubuwono III Radja


Hamengkubuwono IV Seda Pesijar


Hamengkubuwono V Menol


Hamengkubuwono II Sepuh


Hamengkubuwono V Menol


Hamengkubuwono VI Mangkubumi


Hamengkubuwono VII


Hamengkubuwono VIII


Hamengkubuwono IX


Hamengkubuwono X



Governors of  D.I.Y.

Hamengkubuwono IX

17.08.1945 - 01.10.1988

Paku Alam VIII

01.10.1988 - 03.10.1998

Hamengkubuwono X

03.10.1998 - present





The arms of the Special Territory of Yogyakarta


The emblem of the Special Territory of Yogyakarta was adopted in 1969, nineteen years after the establishment of the province. It is the successor of the achievement of the sultanate which consisted of the crowned royal cypher with supporters.

The emblem is:


Arms: Gules, a pillar Argent with decorations Or, topped with a flower of jasmin and standing on a basement or ompak in the form of a lotus Vert, winged with two wings of nine large and eight small feathers Or, within the legend rasa suka ngesti  prja - 1786 and  yogyakarta trus mandiri - 1945 in javanese script Or.

Crest: A five-pointed star Or.

Garland: A branch of cotton with 17 flowers and 8 leaves proper, and an ear of rice of 45 grains Or

Motto: YOGYAKARTA in black lettering on a white scroll.


The arms were adopted by decree P.D. D.I.Y. N° 3 Th. 1969.


ð S
ee illustration in the head of this article




The two parts of the legend express the maxim: “With a feeling of responsibility and great joy we build a prosperous and everlasting Yogyakarta”.


  • The red shield with a white bordure respresents national consciousness
  • The pillar respresents humanism
  • The Ompak symbolizes the sovereignty of the people
  • The  five-pointed star symbolisez the belief in God
  • The garland symbolizes social righteousness


These are the five priciples of the Pancasila


The meaning of the charges of the arms.


¤ The pillar, symbol of the unification of the territories and peoples of Indonesia, and the disc should symbolize the peacefulness of public life.

¤ Prosperity and justice are symbolized by the ear of rice of 45 grains and the branch of cotto with 17 flowers and 8 leaves. Together they make the date of the proclamation of independence 17.VIII.1945.

¤ Religion, educationj and culture are represnted by the five-pointed golden star and the flowerr of jasmin with three leves on top of the pillar.

¤ The spirit of readines to fight and heroism  is symbolized by the relief on the pillar. The sculptural technique characteristic for Yogyakarta expresses the idea that life can be embellished and perfectionized by formerly unknown means

¤ The history of the Special Territory of Yogyakarta is represented by the two wings with nine and eight feathers each. The numbers are for Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX and Prince Paku Alam VIII who are the joint rulers of Yogyakarta.

¤ Purity and integrity are represented by the lotus


The meaning of the colors


  • Gold and yellow: Capability, honour and nobility
  • Light- and dark green: Fertility and expectation
  • Red: Courage
  • White: Purity
  • Black: Eternity




On the sultan’s seal his name and titles were fully written. The seal in red wax of Hamengkubuwono II for example, bears the inscription in Javanese script: Inkang Pratandha Kangjeng Sinuhun Hamen­kubuwana Sénapati Ingalaga Ngabdurrahman Sayidin Panata­gama Kalipatu­lah.  


Heraldry in the western sense of the word was certainly known in Yogyakarta because in neighbouwing Surakarta a heraldic achievement was used sinse Mataram times. Also V.O.C. heraldry and the arms of some other princes in the Indonesian archipelago should have been known by the Yogyakarta court officials. It is possible that already the first sultans used a heraldic achievement but none of these have been preserved. The oldest achievement of Yogyakarta known is on the doors of the Garudajaksa coach manufactured in the Hague and shipped in 1869 for Hamengkubuwono VI (1855-’77).[1] It is in the tradition of the arms or cypher of the V.O.C. and Dutch republican and royal heraldry.

The achievement is:


Arms: Argent, the Royal Cypher HB Or, within a bordure Gules fimbriated Or.

Crown: A royal crown

Supporters: Two lions couchant respecting proper and a panoplie of banners, arms and cannon.


Achievement of Hamengkubuwono VI

as on the doors of the Garudajaksa coach, manufactured by the Hermans concern in The Hague, 1869.


The achievement was, as far as we know, somewhat simplified and redrawn in a more Javanese style in the time of his successor. It is on a palanquin, made in the year of the accession to the throne of Hamengkubuwono VII and  today in the kraton of Yogyakarta .


Photo H.d.V. 1980

Achievement of Hamengkubuwono VII, 1877.

as on his palanquin.


The arms are:


Arms: Gules, the royal cypher HB VII and the date 1877 Or.

Crown: A crown of five leaves

Supporters: Two lions guardant each keeping a standard of the flag of Yogyakarta per fess Or and Gules.


The crown is a crown of a marquess in the Dutch heraldic system of the 19th century. However, it may be meant to be a crown of  a Duke, Sovereign Prince or Pair in the French 18th-century heraldic system. This, pof course would match the actual position of the sultan better.


The tradition was continued by his successor  who bore a like coat of arms, the supporting lions omitted.


Photo H.d.V. 1980

Arms of Hamengkubuwono VII, dated 1923.

as in the Yogyakarta kraton

The arms are:


Arms: Gules, the Royal Cypher H.B.VIII, Or.

Crown: A royal crown.


A new coat of arms appeared in the thirties of the 20th century. It demonstrates a reorientation from western culture to Javanese and muslim culture.  The main change is that the script used for the Royal Cypher was now Javanese aksara script.

Also the royal crown of  Dutch design was replaced by a Javanese crown.

The third change was about the supporters or external ornaments. For these a pair of wings was chosen. This pair of wings is borrowed from a 6th century Sassanian stucco wall-plate (nishan) from Ktesiphon (Iraq). About this wall-plate was first published by O. Reuther in 1930, a publication which may have been known by Hamengkubu-wono VII or his private teacher. [2]



Nishan.  Iraq, 6th century A.D.

Museum f. Islamische Kunst, Berlin. Inv. Kt.O.1084


The nishan illustrated here shows a pair of wings and a cypher consisting of a crescent and some letters which have some resemblance to Javanese script. The meaning of the letters is unknown but we may discern “pnrs” in parsi script.

Generally in ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian heraldry, the pair of wings symbolizes the heavenly mandate and in this case should mean the phrase “By God’s Grace” or “By the Grace of Heaven”, thus claiming complete sovereignty.


Immediately after the discovery of the nishan of Ktesiphon, the Sassanian symbol was translated for Javanese use in the following way:


Achievement of Hamengkubuwono VIII

as on his hearse Kreta Jenazah, 1939.  [3]

The new achievement  was:


Arms: Gules, the Royal Cypher H.B. 8 in Javanese aksara-script Or.

Crown: The royal crown of Yogyakarta

Supporters: A pair of wings Or. [4]


No achievement is known from the first years of the reign of Hamengkubuwono VIII but an achievement, probably from the time of the Japanese Occupation or somewhat later, shows a coat of arms supported by two crowned naga or snakes.


Photo H.d.V. 2010

Gamelan gong-stand showing a royal achievement of Yogyakarta.

as in Museum Bronbeek, Arnhem[5]

The achievement is:


Arms: Gules, the royal cypher B in aksara-script, surrounded by a garland of cotton (or kapok) in the lower half and rice in the upper half, in chief a five-pointed star, all Or.

Supporters: Two crowned naga, Or.


Probably this achievement was designed during the Japanese Occupation because under martial law the public display of crowns was forbidden. On the other hand the arms may have been designed after the formulation of the pancasila in a speech by Soekarno known as “The Birth of the Pancasila” on 1 June 1945. [6] The emblem of the five principles of the pancasila is a five-pointed golden star, on the national achievement placed on a black escutcheon and on the presidential flag surrounded by a garland on a yellow banner.

Contrary to the achievement of Hamengkubuwono VII this achievement means: “The government [of Yogyakarta] by the grace of the King”, or “The Royal Government of Buwono” as a snake is a royal symbol since the times of the ancient Egyptian empires. This does not forcibly  imply any sovereignty (thus leaving out of consideration the sovereignty of the Emperor of Japan or the Queen of the Netherlands).

The coat of arms on itself has obviously served as the prototype of many later provincial and municipal arms of te Republic as it introduced the five-pointed shield and the placing of the garland as a charge  on the shield (referring also to the arms of Batavia).


After the establishment of the Republik Indonesia Serikat and shortly afterwards the Republik Indonesia, a new achievement appeared. It is about the same as the achievement of Hamengkubuwono VIII but shows the initials H.B. only, omitting the rank-number.


Photo H.d.V. 1980

Achievement of Hamengkubuwono IX

 inside the entrance of the kraton of Yogyakarta


After the death of Hamengkubuwono IX in 1988 he was succeeded by Hamengkubuwono X. His achievement reintroduces the rank-number. It is:



Arms: Gules, the Royal Cypher H.B. 10 in aksara-script Or.

Crown: The Royal Crown of Yogyakarta

Supporters:  A pair of wings Or.


Armed Forces


The sultans of Surakarta and Yogyakarta were not in command of auxiliary troops. Instead they had a military house of which they were the head and they were titulary officers of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army. The sultan of Yogyakarta had the rank of major-general.


On the territory of Yogyakarta however, there was the command of the Pakualaman Auxiliary Corps.

Pakualaman (also written Paku Alaman) is a small hereditary principality within the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It was created in 1812 when Natakusuma (later Paku Alam I) was rewarded by helping the British quell the conflict in Yogyakarta in June 1812. It became the reflection of the Mangkunegaran principality in the territory of the Susuhunanate of Surakarta.


A flag was granted to Pakualam I in 1813. This consisted of two breadths yellow and green. [7]



Photo: Timur Sri Muhammad Tunggadewa

Paku Alam I, cypher.


The cypher of Paku Alam I (1812-’29) consisted of the capitals P and A in gold, crowned with a green cap with golden decorations. This cypher is on the carriage “Kereta Kyai Manik Kumolo”, presented to him by Stamford Raffles. [8] The same cypher seems to have been used by his successors.

As can be seen on the great gong stand from his gamelan set, the Pakualam achievement consisted of the cypher PA, supported by two naga.


The emblem of Paku Alam VIII (1938-‘99) was:


Arms: Vert, the cypher PM8 in Paksãnan-Antiqua-script Or.

Crown: The Pakualaman Crown.

Supporters: A pair of wings Or.


ï Achievement of Paku Alam VIII in Pakalaman Museum, Yogyakarta


The emblem of  Paku Alam IX (1999- present) is:


Arms: The cypher PM9 Paksãnan-Antiqua-script

Crown: The Pakualaman Crown.

Supporters: A pair of wings.


Achievement of Paku Alam IX ð


A Pakualaman Corps of 100 cavalry (later 50 cavalry and 100 infantry) was established, but was never to become as significant as the Mangkunegaran Legion, and disbanded in 1892.

Nevertheless a royal guard seems to have been maintained by Paku Alam VII (1903-’38). The helmet-badge of this guard is on its ceremonial helmets and consists of the cypher PA VII, surrounded by a garland of oak leaves:


Photo: Timur Sri Muhammad Tunggadewa

Badge on a ceremonial helmet of the Paku Alam VII Guard.

(Coll. Pakualaman Museum Yogyakarta)


After 48 years a new Paku Alam Legion was founded in March 1940. The soldiers of this ephemeral Paku Alam Legion wore a brass PA cypher on the collar of their green uniform. The same cypher was worn by the officers on their shoulderpatches. They were allowed to wear a red, white and blue shield on their civil dress, charged with the cypher PA.  [9]


Paku Alam Legion Arms

For use on civil dress.


Today Yogyakarta is controlled by TNI Kodam IV/Diponegoro





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© Hubert de Vries 2010-09-20

Updated 2010-10-25; 2011-03-08; 2011-04-27


[1] ) Vos, H.B.: Kratonkoetsen op Java. Amsterdam, 1986. Pp. 31, 51.

[2] ) Reuther, O. : Die Ausgrabungen der deutschen Ktesiphon Expedition im Winter 1928/29. Berlin, 1930.

[3] ) From: Vos, op.cit. p. 60. No 12.

[4] ) An early example is above the entrance of the kraton, dated 1928.

[5] ) The gong-stand may have been confiscated as a booty by the Dutch paratroopers of  the Operatie KRAAI in 1948. In September of that year the siege of Yogyakarta took place and on 20 September the republican governement, Mohammad Hatta and Soekarno included, were taken prisoner.

[6] ) N.B. six weeks before the capitulation of Japan on 16 August 1945.

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

[8] ) Today in the Pakualaman Museum in Yogyakarta. Photo and info: Timur Sri Muhammad Tunggadewa (2011)

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


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