1. Thanks for your protection
Dewa Gede Raka, prince of Gianyar on the island of Bali, was often at war with the princes of other states on the island. In 1899 he asked the Dutch to protect him. Later he gave these little boxes to the Dutch who ruled over Bali. The golden boxes were for the most important people in government, and the silver ones with a gold centre were for people a little less important. They are to keep gambir in, which is something that is chewed together with areca palm nuts. It gives you extra energy.
Bali, Indonesia; around 1903; silver, gold; RV-1436-5a, b; -6a, b
Precious little boxes
Look at the boxes. Both pairs were given as gifts. Which ones were for the most important person in
government? How can you tell?
2. A sultan’s official clothes
In 1819 Sultan Hamengku Buwono IV of Yogyakarta gave a set of official clothes for a sultan to the
most important member of the Dutch colonial government in Indonesia. The clothes are made of
very expensive material. This shows how important the sultan thought it was to stay friends with the
Dutch. The belt has a loop that you would use to carry a kris, which is a type of sword.
Yogyakarta, Indonesia; around 1818; velvet, gold, diamonds; RV-360-1475, -1481
Krisses, a type of sword, are very important in Indonesia because they give the owner power. The
more important the owner of the kris, the more decoration it has. This kris is decorated with gold
and diamonds. Krisses were also often given as gifts to important people. Sultan Hamengku Buwono
IV gave this one to the person in charge of the Dutch colonial government in Indonesia.
Yogyakarta, Indonesia; around 1819; steel, diamonds, gold, wood, copper, nickel; RV-360-1481a