UNESCO heritage-lists Indonesian wooden boat building

PoP first came across Jeffrey Mellefont, an Honorary Research Associate at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM), when we read one of his lyrical articles in Signals about viewing a total solar eclipse while sailing in the Moluccas ("All I can say is, how extraordinary to live in a solar system where  our one and only … Continue reading UNESCO heritage-lists Indonesian wooden boat building

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Kali Nyamat: Java’s Muslim Warrior Queen

PoP's textual historian Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan looks into the life and career of one of Java's great leaders: the 16th-century queen of Jepara.  The history of Java has no shortage of powerful women rulers, from the 14th-century queen Dyah Gitarja, whose imperial conquests can be role-played in the strategy game Civilization VI, to Megawati Soekarnoputri, former president and … Continue reading Kali Nyamat: Java’s Muslim Warrior Queen

The power of cloth: Melinda Piesse’s Batavia Tapestry

Earlier this year, PoP’s Museum and Heritage Studies scholar Natali Pearson wrote about her visit to the remote Houtman Abrolhos Islands – site of the Batavia’s wrecking on its maiden voyage to the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) in 1629. The story of the Batavia – characterised by a midnight shipwrecking, months of murder and mayhem … Continue reading The power of cloth: Melinda Piesse’s Batavia Tapestry

Performing Heritage (or, Making Temples Great Again)

Natali Pearson, our Museum and Heritage Studies researcher, takes a look at the Obama family's recent visit to the 9th century temples of Borobudur and Prambanan in Indonesia, and muses on the mythologising of these monuments both past and present. Last week, former US President Barack Obama and his family visited Indonesia, where they followed … Continue reading Performing Heritage (or, Making Temples Great Again)

Setting the Record Crooked: Conspiracy History in Indonesia

PoP’s textual historian Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan studies the pseudo-history of the Majapahit kingdom, and what it can tell us about history-making in Indonesia today. Indonesians love a good conspiracy. Just check out the sales table on any mainstream bookstore like Gramedia, or the display racks of used-book street stalls, and you'll find hidden truths and uncovered secrets … Continue reading Setting the Record Crooked: Conspiracy History in Indonesia

When it comes to disappearing ocean history, HMAS Perth is the tip of the iceberg

This Thursday, 8 June, is World Oceans Day and so critical are the issues facing our oceans - including climate change and plastic pollution - that the United Nations has convened a high-level conference on their future. While its focus is ocean conservation, another aspect of our seas has been conspicuously neglected: the vast array … Continue reading When it comes to disappearing ocean history, HMAS Perth is the tip of the iceberg

Museums, masterpieces and morals

The ongoing fallout from the criminal charges brought against disgraced Asian antiquities dealers Subhash Kapoor and Nancy Wiener has put a spotlight on the Asian collections of many of the world’s great museums, raising questions about provenance, ownership and the hunt for stolen antiquities. An exhibition of collection masterpieces at New York’s Asia Society Museum … Continue reading Museums, masterpieces and morals

Ghost ships: why are World War II naval wrecks vanishing in Indonesia?

February/March 2017 marks 75 years since the sinking of many Allied ships in Indonesian waters in World War II. Now the resting place of thousands of sailors, divers were surprised to find five of the wrecks in the Java Sea have completely vanished, likely the work of salvagers. In an extended version of an article first … Continue reading Ghost ships: why are World War II naval wrecks vanishing in Indonesia?

Pramoedya’s Message to the Youth of Indonesia

Today would have been the 92nd birthday of the late Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the most important writer in Indonesia. His stature as a leading artist and his leftist politics led to his persecution by the Army-led government of Suharto. International audiences tended to focus on his imprisonment on Buru island between 1969 and 1979, during which he produced four novels … Continue reading Pramoedya’s Message to the Youth of Indonesia