Mirrors of Time and Agents of Action Indonesia’s Claimed Cultural Objects and Decolonisation, 1947-1978

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

Abstract

In this article I will contend that decolonisation of colonial collections is not only about repatriation of cultural objects or researching object’s provenance. A few years ago, historian Claire Wintle argued how material culture both reflected and exercised agency on processes of decolonization. Here will be shown how decolonisation, the attempts of undoing colonialism, the repositioning of political relations and reformulation of identities and attitudes, was already stimulated, in both Indonesia and the Netherlands, by Indonesia’s nationalistic claims on Netherlands owned objects. These claims and resulting discussion on object’s possible restitution were more than anything else about political and cultural ownership, representation, legitimation and authorization. This will be illustrated by the history and background of one of Indonesia’s earliest claims on return of cultural patrimony: the Nāgarakrtāgama, Prajñāpāramitā and the Dubois collection of fossils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
JournalBijdragen en Mededelingen Betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden
Volume133
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Cultural Objects
Indonesia
Decolonization
The Netherlands
Reformulation
Material Culture
Restitution
Ownership
Colonialism
Fossil
Legitimation
Colonies
Cultural Patrimony
Repatriation
History
Historian

Cite this

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title = "Mirrors of Time and Agents of Action Indonesia’s Claimed Cultural Objects and Decolonisation, 1947-1978",
abstract = "In this article I will contend that decolonisation of colonial collections is not only about repatriation of cultural objects or researching object’s provenance. A few years ago, historian Claire Wintle argued how material culture both reflected and exercised agency on processes of decolonization. Here will be shown how decolonisation, the attempts of undoing colonialism, the repositioning of political relations and reformulation of identities and attitudes, was already stimulated, in both Indonesia and the Netherlands, by Indonesia’s nationalistic claims on Netherlands owned objects. These claims and resulting discussion on object’s possible restitution were more than anything else about political and cultural ownership, representation, legitimation and authorization. This will be illustrated by the history and background of one of Indonesia’s earliest claims on return of cultural patrimony: the Nāgarakrtāgama, Praj{\~n}āpāramitā and the Dubois collection of fossils.",
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AB - In this article I will contend that decolonisation of colonial collections is not only about repatriation of cultural objects or researching object’s provenance. A few years ago, historian Claire Wintle argued how material culture both reflected and exercised agency on processes of decolonization. Here will be shown how decolonisation, the attempts of undoing colonialism, the repositioning of political relations and reformulation of identities and attitudes, was already stimulated, in both Indonesia and the Netherlands, by Indonesia’s nationalistic claims on Netherlands owned objects. These claims and resulting discussion on object’s possible restitution were more than anything else about political and cultural ownership, representation, legitimation and authorization. This will be illustrated by the history and background of one of Indonesia’s earliest claims on return of cultural patrimony: the Nāgarakrtāgama, Prajñāpāramitā and the Dubois collection of fossils.

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