National Museum (Museum Nasional)

Yesterday, I went to visit the National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta.

My visit here alone justified my trip to Jakarta – even more specifically, the sculpture garden at the museum is one of my favorite spots in Indonesia.

Established in 1868 (officially), the museum houses traditional artifacts from across the archipelago.

Really anything and everything that can be identified as a remnant of Indonesian culture – models of traditional architecture, textiles, ceramics, early gamelan orchestras, Papuan penis sheaths (koteka), keris from Bali and Java

topeng (masks) from around the archipelago, as well a large section about the study of early evolution of homo sapiens in Indonesia (some of the earliest forms of human life have been found in Indonesia, mostly along the Solo River).

Still, the sculpture garden most captured my attention.

The stone carving and architecture of the Mataram and Majapahit empires are amongst my favorite art works; the sculpture garden at the museum is littered with these artifacts.

When I first arrived at the museum, I spent about an hour looking over these stone works, and then after I had made my way through the rest of the museum, I came back to spend another hour sitting in the sculpture garden.

I would get up and change me seat every 15-20 minutes, so that I could focus my attention on different pieces.

But mostly I just wanted to be among them, to be with them, to feel their life, and to feel that somehow these pieces were apart of me.


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