Historical links and shared heritage
The reason for our cooperation lies in the history of our collections. Many of the objects in our two museums were collected within a colonial context. The Museum Nasional inherited the museum collection of the Koninklijk Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen, which was established in Batavia (now Jakarta) in 1778. The most important Indonesia collections in the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde were collected in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the same colonial context. They were sent to the Netherlands by the colonial government, acquired through colonial expeditions or exhibitions, received as gifts, collected as souvenirs, or, in some rare cases, taken home as war bounty. Due to this common history our collections are intimately related, even to the extent that objects have previously been deliberately divided between our two museums.
As a result, large parts of our (Indonesia) collections complement each other. This also applies to the materials relating to the Singhasari period (1222-1292), the subject of this website. For instance, the MNI has the beautiful Buddhist statues from the Jago temple, while the MV has the equally beautiful Hindu statues from the Singosari temple. The MNI has the image of Prajnaparamita, also from Singosari. The MV, on the other hand, has a contemporary bronze copy of the Jago images. The MNI has most of the historical documents from the Singhasari period itself, in the form of inscriptions, while the MV has the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century documentation of the (re)discovery and restoration of the Singosari monuments and sculptures.