Relooking Indonesian cultural artefacts

Following the wake of the stolen museum artefacts in Indonesia, an editorial in the Jakarta Post wonders if many of the artefacts in the museums are even genuine.

Museum thefts suggest we might want to weigh the gold on Monas
Jakarta Post, 07 December 2007

If statues in Surakarta were stolen with the help of the museum curator and copies of ancient stone carvings can be made by artisans in Muntilan, no ancient Javanese stone statue is safe anywhere here. The type of stone the ancients used is still routinely produced by Merapi volcano and the skill and style of the art is still in Muntilan. How can we be sure that similar statues in other museums are originals?

Bramantyo Prijosusilo also writes about many replicas of other cultural treasures – keris, cannon, goldworking and statuary that can be easily obtained in Indonesia. Read the full post here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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