Heritage and the Politics of Culture
The collections from Indonesia in the National Museum of World Cultures are huge: more than 120.000 objects and 350.000 photographs from Indonesia, of which by far the majority is collected in colonial times, as result of colonial engagement. However, the oldest colonial museum was in Batavia, now the National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta. This museum, which was founded by the Dutch in colonial times (as early as 1778), as the museum of the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences, has the largest collections of Indonesian art and culture in the world, also mostly collected in colonial times. We work closely together with this museum.
In the lecture I will focus only on the collections from the island of Bali.
I will show the various ways the colonial collections were collected, not only as war booty, following military expeditions, but also in order to show the European public examples of Balinese art and culture in colonial exhibitions. Collectors were artists, scholars and civil servants. As examples of these colonial collections I show court art, but also paintings, sculpture and textiles and ritual objects.