The National Museum Of Indonesia

The National Museum is also known as the Elephant Museum or Elephant Building, Gedung Gajah. This name has developed from the little bronze elephant statue in the forecourt of the building. The Museum holds treasures from all of Indonesia’s territories and here they are preserved for all to see. Beyond just holding valuable artifacts this collection really does play host to a rich culture and pays tribute to this nations great history.

The National Museum of Indonesia
The National Museum of Indonesia (Source :

The study of Indonesia’s history has been one of foreign influences with the first real group being founded in the mid 18th century with the permission of the Governor General of the Netherlands East-Indies Council, Reiner de Klerk. On the 24th of April 1778 the Batavian Society of Art and Sciences was formed. From this point it developed and has grown with other influences both locally and internationally.

The Museum holds objects from fossils of Homo Erectus found in East Java to items of Indonesia’s Golden Age, 1292 – 1398, the Majapahit Empire and many more.

The Museum is divided into the following sections as the map shows :

Bronze Collection

  • Standing Buddha – 7th Century / Museum Ref : 6057 (Believed to be from a ship wreck – An example of trade and religion being a exported and imported commodity)
  • Ganesha – 9th Century / Museum Ref : 534a (The God of Learning and the Remover of Obstacles)

Prehistroy Collection

  • Vessel – Bronze Age / Museum Ref : 1443 (Fantastic patterns on the vessel, believed to have been used in religious ceremonies. Great example of ancient craftmanship)
  • Quadrangular Axe – Meolithic Age / Museum Ref : 7 (A beautiful object, probably used as to show the users status)
  • Stone Painting – Megalithic Age / Museum Ref : 3467 (Found on a coffin wall, an ancient blessing for the dead)

Ceramics Collection

  • Hill Jar – 1st or 2nd Century / Museum Ref : 3159 (All the way from China. This collections highlights the point that Indonesia was and is a trading country with links that run withe currents of the oceans, this object was found in a tomb, buried with its owner)

Textile Collection

  • Blouse and Skirt (Baju) from Toraja Sulawesi / Museum Ref : 16675 (made from Tree Bark! Yes Tree bark, this was only worn in very special occasions and the good news is that when you visit Toraja you can bring some bark clothes home as a gift)

Numismatics Collection

  • Here you will find coins form all over the world that have found their way to Indonesian shores. The most interesting for this writer is the knife money.
  • Tao Chien Knife Money – 3rd Century BC/ Museum Ref : 13072 (Issued by the Emperor Wang Mang this money doubled as a small weapon in times of trouble), Money does kill.
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