Friday, September 17, 2010

Day Tripper : Museum Nasional

Now that we knew most museums in Jakarta closed for public on Monday, we felt on the right track when we came to Museum Nasional on last Tuesday –last day of my children school holiday-. Located on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat in downtown Jakarta proved its easy access for visitor.

Some people called it 'Museum Gajah' or Elephant Museum as it had an Elephant Statue on its front yard, gift from King of Thailand when he paid a visit to the Museum dated back on 1871.

It was quite early when we arrived, we saw about 10 westerner-tourists waiting for the tour guide. After couple of minutes of usual travel ritual: photo shoot –perfect time, perfect weather, perfect lighting- we bought entry tickets which surprisingly cheap – Rp.14.000 for 2 adults and 2 children- and walked in to 1st area which Ethnography area. It's a big room with Indonesia map on the wall showing roots of Indonesian ethnic group, completed with sketch of Indonesian ethnics on their traditional costumes.  It's a jaw dropping map, seeing so many ethnics in Indonesia and I ashamed to tell you that I haven't seen some of them in  their traditional costume before –mind you, I grown up here, in Indonesia, shame on me-
Walked along, there were more and more collections of items displayed behind glass panels, from all around the place in Indonesia. They were grouping based not only of their ethnic groups or location where it was found, also based on the functionality of those items.

Of course everyone have their favorite piece.

(Batik stamp;
I wonder if I could make a ring with this pattern)

Pineapples anyone?
What about this so stylish baby-carrier? Long before Baby Bjorn carrier made its famous way.

What amazed me are all those pieces handcrafted meticulously. Every detail was shown how their way of life presented on their culture, and their culture presented on their arts.

(Rama & Rama)

My son –Big R- really into Wayang at the moment –thanks to his school program this term, he loves Wayang more than Star Wars- so he stop on every Wayang's display. He even able to explained to one of the fellow tourist from Germany about Gunungan or Tree of Life-you may call it-; information that my brain never had interest to suck in; or he understood why Topeng or Mask had different colors means different character –good, half good half  bad, or simply evil.

While her brother busy with his Wayang-mind, my daughter –Little Miss R- stumble upon displays of traditional transportation mode. She jumped for joy when she saw miniature of Andong, Dokar and other traditional carts –again, credit goes to her school, which introduces her about all those traditional transportation this term-.

Just about on the centre inside the museum –I guess it's a foyer between A and B building –no map were given when we enter this museum, so we have to take clue from display information- it's a mini stage of Wayang Kulit that spread those puppets beautifully as if ready to perform. Brought back my memory when I was about 8 years old and my dad took me to Wayang Kulit show on my neighborhood  on one evening , I was so sleepy and winging, I couldn't see the beauty of it.

Many more items are displayed, the more we looked at those items, and the more we felt we know nothing about our Indonesia's culture.  We fall in love again with our Indonesia.

(Take a break)

Once we finish walked inside this ethnography section, we proceed to the next big hall and greeted with miniatures of traditional building and houses from around Indonesia. My daughter started to feel tired, made me keep walking without having a chance to look at every display. Following room was room full of ceramics collection, from ancient Indonesia kingdom to colonial period. Such a pretty collection with most items is in white and blue.

Out from ceramics room, we came to a big backyard with Archaeological collection, stoney-thing from Hindu & Buddha period, and scatter over this backyard, and there was a water buffalo –I guess???- As a centerpiece on this yard.  Sun was quite harsh, we couldn't stay long there so we took some photos –my son pointed at Buddha-head statue and made a very straight statement: mum, no wonder Buddha statue in Borobudur had no head. His head is here…"

About 2.5 hours since we enter this museum, we went out with different feeling. Not only me& my husband mission was successful –made our children know Indonesia history better; even this might only a tiny part of the process to get to know their country;  we also agreed this was our best Day Tripper so far.

We took about 400 shoots on that day. Some are blurred, some are amazing snapshots. I promise you to bring those photos to live, sometime next week.
Keep checking....

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