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

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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
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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