For some background, Raffles is recognized as the founder of modern Singapore. Widely celebrated, but actually a pretty horrible scheming person with incredibly problematic history to celebrate.
I think the two volumes were one of the first serious European attempts of researching and compiling Javanese or Southeast Asian history, and themselves have fair bits of critical takes that require reading up on too.
But because I’ve only had a cursory glance on the takes, and I have not read through the 2 volumes, I’ll just jump to what is personally most alluring about the books: The History of Java contains wonderful engravings and illustrations!
The book also contains depictions of mundane objects, wonderful for reference!
So that was some of the images from Volume 1. Volume 2 has many illustrations of ruins and statues of pre-Islamic Java.
Here’s a pdf of a book supposedly containing all the plates to the two volumes. However it’s incomplete, it does not have some of the illustrations above, but it has certain ones that the two links above do not have.
Here’s a link to just the images, resized to be slightly smaller: The History of Java images only
Text By Munkao. This post was originally published January 28, 2021 on the A Thousand Thousand Islands Patreon.