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Indonesian Heritage Museum showcases archipelago's past

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, January 13, 2018  /  08:08 am
Indonesian Heritage Museum showcases archipelago's past

The Indonesian Heritage Museum boasts a collection of over 2,000 pieces that started out as part of a private collection, and ranges from the Majapahit era to the 1800s. (Shutterstock/File)

Spread across 1,000 square meters, the Indonesian Heritage Museum (IHM) in Kota Batu, East Java, houses thousands of artifacts, each telling a story from the archipelago's past, reports

The museum's mask collection, for example, are in the thousands and were sourced throughout Indonesia. Obtained from different historical eras, among those on display is the Sindhakarya Mask. 

Located approximately 20 kilometers northwest of Malang, the museum also houses a collection of a variety of batik, such as batik sarung (sarong batik) and jarit batik (long cloth), including the jarik batik soldiers used as a tool of war during the colonial period under the Dutch East India Company (VOC) from 1602 to 1799.

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Traditional bridal ornaments from a number of regions in Java can also be viewed at the museum, as well as various objects used in traditional dowries and wedding jewelry that are common throughout the archipelago. 

One such piece is a wooden sculpture of a bridal couple sitting on a wedding platform. It is said that the sculpture would be placed in the room of the newly married couple to solidify their union as husband and wife. The object dates back more than 200 years.

The museum also has a miniature sculpture depicting a karapan sapi, or bull race, a traditional event in Madura, East Java. 

Leather-bound Quran that were used between the 17th and 18th centuries are also on exhibit, along with various arts from a number of regions, such as a shield of a Dayak tribe and wayang golek (wooden wayang puppet).

Reno Halsamer, the IHM's founder and CEO, said the museum's collection contained over 2,000 items that ranged from the Majapahit era to more modern items from the 1800s. 

"There are also keris handles from the Majapahit era until the Mataram Islam," Reno told on Sunday. 

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The museum was initially established in 2010 in Bali under the name Museum D'Topeng Kingdom, Reno said. In 2014, it was relocated to Kota Batu and became an integral part of the East Java Park Group's Museum Angkut (Transportation Museum) and the Floating Market. After extensive consideration, D'Topeng Kingdom Museum was renamed last year as the Indonesian Heritage Museum, Reno added.

Tourists visiting the museum district can easily visit the Indonesian Heritage Museum to take a look at a variety of ancient objects from across the archipelago.

The public has responded enthusiastically to the museum, with researchers and academics regularly visiting the IHM to study Indonesian history, says Reno, adding that the objects in the museum are from a private collection that was started 25 years ago. 

"[The collection] came from attending auctions, to buying from collectors and buying from owners and families that no longer wanted to care for the items, as well as auctions abroad," said Reno. "So I wanted to bring these historical objects back to Indonesia from overseas"

Reno said that the museum would continue to expand its collection. (liz/kes)

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