One of the objectives of Westerlaken foundation is to assist and focus on the return of cultural heritage to Bali. The colonial history of Bali is gruesome, especially relating to the puputan’s in 1906 and 1908.
Royal palaces have been raided after royal families decided to commit suicide in order not to be ruled by the Dutch. The King of Klungkung decided to such heroic deed in 1908. After he and his family died in this battle to the end the Dutch raided the palace and took everything valuable out of the palace.
The collection ended up in Batavia, the nowadays Jakarta, and in The Netherlands. Some items though ended up in private collections, though it is unsure how. A good example is the little Singah, that nowadays can be found in Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam that was acquired bij Nieuwenkamp, far after the puputan. Perhaps soldiers took items, perhaps Balinese took items..
Last year Westerlaken Foundation was contacted by a collector who owned two tombaks (spears) from the Klungkung palace and wanted to sell those to Westerlaken foundation, so that the foundation could return them to its rightful owner, the palace of Klungkung.
After several meetings with the current King of Klungkung the official handover has taken place on 10 October in a beautiful ceremony with the royal family, the Bupati, commanders of police, army and cultural services, Museum Semerajaya, priests and villagers attending to hand over the two tombaks.
The King and his family are touched that after more than 100 years the tombaks finally made their way home, back to the palace.
For everyone who would like to see the tombaks, they can be seen at Museum Semerajaya on the palace grounds.