Culture Magazine

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

By Theexhibitionlist
the exhibition list

What An Amazing World presents Jakarta’s Museum Nasional

It was in 1778 when a group of Dutch scholars established a scientific institution to promote research in the fields of arts and sciences in the Dutch East Indies, following the Age of Enlightenment in Europe. When the British ruled Java for a brief period of time, Thomas Stamford Raffles became the director of the society and ordered the construction of a new building as the meeting hall and museum. However, over the following years due to the growing number of the collections, the Dutch built an even bigger museum to house and display the artifacts. But it was not until 1868 when the museum was officially opened to public.

Today the building serves as the national museum of Indonesia (Museum Nasional) which is also affectionately called Museum Gajah (the Elephant Museum) after the bronze elephant statue in the front yard of the building which was a gift from King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) of Thailand in return of a statue of the Buddha given by a Javanese king which is now placed in Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok. With tens of thousands of artifacts from all over Indonesia and Asia, Museum Nasional has the richest and most comprehensive collection on Indonesia’s history.

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

The Elephant

Going through Jakarta’s streets on a Saturday morning without getting stuck in macet – traffic jam, I conveniently drive for only less than half an hour to get to the museum. Apparently some parts of it are under major renovations, hence not all sections are open for the public. I feel slight disappointment at first, but it quickly dissipates as I wander through a section which hosts the ethnography of Indonesia. Having been living in the country since I was born, little did I know about the interesting, beautiful and often curious artifacts from more than 17,000 islands that made up Indonesia.

Despite the wide-ranging collections, Museum Nasional desperately needs major upgrades on how the artifacts and information should be displayed so that visitors are not only able to get proper information on each collection, but also a pleasant visit in general. I cannot help to compare my visits to Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap, Cambodia and Ayala Museum in Manila, the Philippines which have not only enriched me but also left nice memories for me. I hope the undergoing renovations really make Museum Nasional a much better place to learn about the history of Indonesia, both for locals and foreign visitors.

The followings are some of my favorite collections in the sections which were open during my visit.

ETHNOGRAPHY

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Shadow Puppets – Java

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Dragon Head Lamp – Java

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Betel Nut Container – Java

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Barong – Bali

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Tattoo Ink Container – West Kalimantan (Borneo)

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Shield – Aceh, Sumatra

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Mask – Papua (Western New Guinea)

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

A Sabre Hilt – Kai Archipelago, Maluku (Moluccas)

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Hindu Priest’s Headwear – Bali

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Sasando (left) and Moko (right) – East Nusa Tenggara

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Kelana Mask – Cirebon, West Java

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Lalosu – South Sulawesi

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Dvarapala Statue – Bali

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Wooden Sculpture – Cirebon, West Java

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

West Javanese Puppet (left) and an Ancient Inscription (right)

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Book of Oracle – East Java

STATUES

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Statues at the Corridor of the Old Wing

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

The Face of a Giant

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

A Hindu Deity

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Skull Carvings at the Bottom of the Statue of King Adityavarman

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Curious Sculpture Beneath King Adityavarman’s Feet

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Ganesha, the Hindu God of Arts and Sciences

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Statues at the Inner Courtyard

TEXTILE

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Silk Songket Shawl with Golden Thread – South Sumatra

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Traditional Cloth of Jambi, Sumatra

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Dayak Cloth Made of Beads – Kalimantan (Borneo)

Museum Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia

Cloth Decorated with Beads and Seashells – Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara

You can read more from this exciting blogger HERE

Location: Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat 12  10110, Indonesia

Entry Fee: FREE


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