A Monument to Opulence

Today’s journey took us to South Jakarta, to a museum called Museum Purna Bhakti Pertiwi. We have no idea what this means, and suspect it is some Sanskrit holdover. It is a big giant building filled with the gifts obtained by Suharto and his wife, Madam Tien Suharto, during their 32 year reign as dictator-and-wife. This guy had a whole room dedicated to medals that he essentially gave to himself.

Then there was the stuff from everyone else. We spent three hours and saw two-thirds of it. Georgeous artwork, textiles, sculptures, precious metals and stones, honorary prizes, and a couple pictures. Among the more amazing finds are the four post bed made entirely of jade, plundered from China and given to them from some rich industrialist family; intricately carved tree trunks and roots depicting the Maharabhata; and a room of wayang kulit puppets. We are still not clear why they needed all of these things, as apparently they had to build a museum to hold it all. You think that a rich dictator would give things to his people instead of taking things from them. Madam Suharto apparently attended the Imelda Marcos school of conspicuous consumption.

We took some pictures, and hopefully will be able to post them soon.