The island of Sumatra has always had a mythical dimension. Marco Polo had probably been on the west coast of the island. Since the early days of western exploration all kinds of legendary stories have roamed around.
Sumatra was seen as the island where gold could be found (which was true) and it was the island of mysterious kingdoms. The beauty and craftmanship of Sumatran art and material have always attracted collectors, researchers, traders and adventurers of diverse cultural background. In general, outside influences have always been important for Sumatra’s dynamic history.
Recent excavations in Padang Lawas, Jambi and Palembang and the discovery of Chinese shipwrecks with large amounts of trade ceramics have thrown new light on Sumatra’s fascinating history of trade contacts, of religious centers and cultural diversity.
Recent anthropological research (also at the University of Leiden) has revealed new information and resulted in new interpretations on Sumatran cultural dynamics. As far as we know the island of Sumatra has been the subject of a large exhibition only once (in Frankfurt in the 1970s). So it is time to revive the interest in the “Gold Island”.
Date : June 9 – September 8, 2009
Location : Museum Nasional (Museum Gajah), Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No. 12 Jakarta