Consumption of the pig was banned in Islamic diet in the seventh century. Although wild pigs did not thrive in the semi-arid conditions of the Islamic heartland, they did in Indonesia’s rain forests. They especially adapted to forests inhabited by nomadic cultivators, uprooting their crops and eating tubers, fruits, and nuts.
Pigs were raised and presented as taxation in Hindu Majapahit; their flesh was consumed at feasts. There are references to pigs and dogs—another animal unclean in Muslim tradition—being brought to the capital by happy taxpayers. Majapahit texts tell that kings hunted wild pigs for sport, while commoners hunted them for food. For Muslims, the taboo on eating pork was a boundary marker between converts to the new religion and others. The taboo redirected cookery in the kitchens of palace, town, and village and brought Islam into the female domain of food selection and preparation.
Jungle habitats shrank owing to agriculture and population growth. Pig breeding and hunting remain important economic activities only in Bali, Papua, and Manado.
Migrations of Chinese by sea into regions to China’s south created the Nanyang, a vast area which the Chinese thought of as a zone for Chinese offshore settlement and production, a fringe to China. The Yuan (Mongol) dynasty that controlled all China from 1271 to 1368 inherited the earlier Southern Song’s orientation to the Nanyang. It sent emissaries to ports in Sumatra and Java, and outfitted oceangoing junks that held crews of 150 to 300 men. These ships were designed to sustain long voyages.
Mongol fleets carried diplomatic staff and armies to fringe territories to announce the new dynasty and establish its claims to homage and dues. Mongol soldiers from one fleet, landing in Java in 1293, became entangled in a power struggle between the kingdoms of Kediri and Singhasari. For Singhasari’s Prince Wijaya, these agents of a foreign superpower presented the chance to gain allies and win the war against Kediri. In Javanese tradition, Mongol raiding in east Java’s coastal villages led to the founding of the kingdom of Majapahit.
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In Indonesian histories Srivijaya represents a past forgotten, a past recreated by foreign scholars, and a past recovered and packaged by intellectuals of the nationalist movement for Indonesian identity within an Indonesian state. Until the published research of the French scholar Coedès in the 1920s, neither Sumatrans of the Palembang area nor Indone sians anywhere else had ever heard of Srivijaya. Coedès’s discoveries and interpretations were published in the colony’s Dutch and Indonesian-language newspapers. In the nationalist imagining, Srivijaya became evidence of early greatness, of archipelago unities, of Sumatran importance, a great empire of the western archipelago to balance Java’s Majapahit in the east. Srivijaya and Majapahit were packaged to prove the unity of Indonesian peoples prior to the Dutch colonial state