Hang Jebat Mausoleum (built 15th century or earlier)
This is the traditional grave of Hang Jebat, a high-ranking Malay warrior during the rule of Sultan Mansor Shah (r. 1456-77). An interesting tale is associated with his life. Legend says that he was appointed to a high position after Hang Tuah, his predecessor and sworn-brother, was wrongfully accused of having an affair with one of the King's maids. But rather than accepting his position, Hang Jebat rose to Hang Tuah's defense and exclaimed "A fair rajah is to be revered, but a cruel rajah is to be despised." These words earned the wrath of the Sultan, who decided that Hang Jebat ought to be executed.
Meanwhile, Hang Tuah's execution was ready to be carried out. His executioner, Bendahara Tun Perak, led him into the jungle where the bloody deed was supposed to be done. However, Bendahara Tun Perak realized the accusations were false and chained Hang Tuah to a tree rather than executing him (why he chained him to a tree is unclear: perhaps he feared Hang Tuah would try to return home?) Since Bendahara Tun Perak needed to return to the Sultan with evidence that the execution went as planned, he soaked Hang Tuah's clothes in goat's blood and presented them to the Sultan.
During this time, Hang Jebat out of spite intentionally became intimate with some of the king's female attendants. The Sultan became even more enraged and remarked to Bendahara Tun Perak that he regretted having Hang Tuah executed since he was such an able warrior (apparently Hang Jebat was nearly invincible). Surprised to hear this, the delighted Bendahara revealed his ruse and told the king that he could summon Hang Tuah right away. Overjoyed, the king ordered Hang Tuah's return and pardoned him.
When Hang Tuah returned to the palace from the jungle he was given instructions to kill Hang Jebat, but he was horrified at the thought of killing his sworn brother. When he met Hang Jebat on the field for the fatal match, Hang Jebat revealed that he had rebelled against the Sultan because of the false accusations against his sworn brother. Nevertheless, Hang Tuah told Hang Jebat that he had to kill him since the Sultan had given a direct order. Hang Jebat understood but asked that he might wreak havoc for 24 hours as retribution against the Sultan for the troublesome situation that had been caused. Hang Tuah agreed and Hang Jebat had his vengeance.
Nevertheless the next day Hang Tuah fulfilled his orders and killed Hang Jebat. According to legend, this is his grave site.
The grave itself is Achinese in style and is of the type normally used to mark the burial places of high ministers or Sultans of the period, so it is possible that Hang Jebat was a real person buried here. The age of the grave is unknown but it clearly predates the 1512 Portuguese occupation.
All images 2005 Timothy M. Ciccone
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