Bidasari and the Djinn

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Ninot Aziz
2018. Silverfish
Hardcover. 25.8 cm x 20.8 cm, 63 pages
with illustrations
ISBN 9789833221868

RM60.00

Most of us only know of the Disney version of The Sleeping Beauty with its ubiquitous singing teapots. The original tale called Sun, Moon, and Talia by Giambattista Basile from his book, The Tale of Tales (1634), based on earlier folk tales, was decidedly quite inappropriate by today’s standards of sexual political correctness. Frenchman Charles Perrault based his Mother Goose Stories on Basiles’ work, which influenced later oral versions that were recorded by the Brothers Grimm.

Chinese versions of sleeping beauty stories (there are two), found in the Tai Ping Guang Ji, which was compiled in the 10th century, are very similar to the European ones, except that the beauty is not sleeping but is dead from a Daoist magic pill (without her soul ever leaving her body). After 100 years a youth jumps over a hedge and awakens her with a kiss and they live happily ever after.

Epic of Bidasari, or Syair Bidasari, is a charming poem, set in a country called Inderapura (probably before the European adventures in Asia), that has all the ingredients of an enchanting fairy tale: a beautiful princess, an evil queen, sorcery, magic, a handsome king and with the ultimate happy ending. Like all such tales, its origins were probably oral, and has existed in different versions throughout Southeast Asia.

Who influencd whom is not important, but the various cultural references are.

This pictorial version by Ninot Aziz is told in the Nusantara tradition

Weight 500 g
Dimensions 25.8 × 20.8 × 1 cm

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