Museum Break: Antique weapons stolen from Melaka museum

A number of priceless antique weapons were stolen from the Malaysian Historic and Ethnography Museum in Malacca, Malaysia over the weekend, chalking up a loss amounting to “millions of ringgit”.


photo credit: Marshall Astor – Food Pornographer

  • Antique keris and pistols stolen from museum (The Star, 16 March 2008)
  • Priceless Malaysian museum artifacts stolen (The Nation, 16 March 2008)
  • Malacca museum artefact theft is inside job: Police (New Straits Times, 16 March 2008)

The stolen artefacts, numbering 14 in total, include Portuguese pistols and keris, the Malay long daggers used as markers of royalty and is identified as the symbol of Malay culture. The keris that were stolen come from the earliest known Sultanates of Malaysia.


photo credit: Aizuddin Saad!

The Malaysian Historic and Ethnography Museum is located in the heart of the historic city of Malacca, in the landmark red building that was once the Stadhuys or City Hall of the colonial Dutch period.

Related books:
The Malay Sultanates 1400-1700 (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia)
Old Malacca (Images of Asia)
Keris and Other Malay Weapons (Bibliotheca Orientalis: Malaya-Indonesia)

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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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