Ancient bronze statue centre of police investigation into museum

The Radya Pustaka Musem is in the news again, after the discovery that a substantial number of bronze artefacts in the museum’s collection are in fact, fakes. The oldest museum in Indonesia was in the news late last year when a theft ring was busted, involving some of the staff of the museum who made copies of the museum’s artefacts and sold off the originals.

Solo Police Investigates Theft of Museum’s Bronze Statue
Tempo Interactive, 25 September 2008

Archeologists believe that the stolen bronze is a major showcase of the museum, which belongs to Keraton Surakarta Foundation, since the collection consists of rare statues like the statue of Princess Cunda. There are only two statues of the a diety who represents wisdom of the world. The second such relic can be found in India. Therefore Cunda is estimated to be sold in international auctions for Rp 20 billion. Syukrani doubts the police will be able to solve the bronze statues case immediately, since there has been no clarification as to when the collection was stolen and copied. “They were probably stolen before the stone relics,” he said.

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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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