One of Westerlaken Foundations objectives is to negotiate, safeguard and help the owners of stolen cultural heritage.
In 1908 the King of Klungkung decided that he did not wanted to be ruled by the Dutch. In a heroic 'fight to the end', the Balinese concept of puputan,the King and the royal family took their own life.
After the death of the family the palace was raided by the Dutch (and as the story goes the locals as well). All valuable items were taken and sent to the Bataviaasch Genootschap in Batavia, the nowadays Museum Nasional in Jakarta. The collection of Puri Klungkung was split up, items ended up in the Museum Nasional in Jakarta, in Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden, the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Some items did not end up in the museums right after the puputan. A good example is the 'offering-box in the form of a winged lion' in the collection of the Rijksmuseum (AK-MAK-280).
Westerlaken Foundation had the change to buy two tombaks out of a collection in The Netherlands which belonged to the royal family of Klungkung. The two tombaks now arrived in Bali and last Friday we had a meeting with the high priest and the King to discuss terms for the return of the tombaks to the museum of the history of Klungkung. An official return ceremony is planned on 10 October 2019.