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Kris and tombak returned to Puri Klungkung after 112 years

As part of the cultural heritage management program, Westerlaken foundation acquired a kris and tombak that likely were part of the Klungkung collection from a private collection in the beginning of this year.

Today 112 years ago the King of Klungkung resorted in what in his eyes was the final solution to not to be ruled by the Dutch, a mass suicide (puputan in Balinese). After the puputan the whole palace was robbed and all valuable goods were sent of to Batavia. Half of this collection was subsequently sent to The Netherlands and can still be seen in Dutch musea.

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. The same collector assisted Westerlaken foundation in acquiring one more tombak and one kris from Klungkung.

For a long time it was unsure if the hand over ceremony could take place today, due to COVID-19. After long consideration, a very selected guest list of only dignitaries and precautions as physical distance, masks and gloves it was decided to return the kris and tombak today on this very special remembrance day. As this was the only ceremony relating to the puputan today, this immediately became the peak of the day.

The King of Klungkung expressed his gratitude and explained in his speech that this second returning ceremony underlined an improvement of the relations between the Balinese and the Dutch. The Bupati (regent) underlined that even though Westerlaken foundation does not represent the Dutch government this return ceremony shows an understanding of how history is understood 112 years later.

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