Departure day

The hotel’s breakfast buffet was overpriced and not too good looking. We didn’t feel like shark fins or birds’ nests this early and chose instead to break our fast at Starbucks with their version of an Egg McMuffin and a latte. The American food and drink establishments are the new melting pots – we eat and drink and behave the same way: overpriced coffees, calorie-loaded foods and Wifi so we can consult our devices. We did so too in order to find out whether the museum would be open on Coronation Day which, in Holland, is Memorial Day and my brother’s birthday. It was.

We were only able to see part of the museum. It was simply too hot and humid, even in the air-conditioned display rooms but especially in the temples. Like in other parts of the world all treasures are religious art. It makes you contemplate how much money and energy went into producing artifacts to placate the gods. Actually it still does, considering the extravagant temples and prayer houses we have seen on this trip, both in Malaysia and Thailand.

The most striking room was the Javanese collection, dominated by a towering granite Ganesha. This turned out to be a ‘gift’ from the Dutch Governor-Genneral of Indonesia to King Rama V at the end of the 19th century.  According to the description King Rama V was visiting Indonesia’s famous Borobudur Temple and indicated he wanted some parts of it for his collection. He sent his people up to inspect the pieces he wanted and then had them marked and eventually cut out and shipped to his palace in Siam. He was generous and didn’t take the best and most perfect parts of the temple, leaving those for the local worshippers. He did have to ask permission from the Dutch Governor-General who apparently had no trouble giving away things that didn’t belong to him or his country in the first place. I think we have evolved since then.

There were countless Buddha statues, from different eras and regions, from Nepal to Sri Lanka and from western India to Japan. None were of the big bellied variety that is so familiar to us. Some of the tall stone Hindu statues, representing the many armed Shiva, reminded me of Assyrian and Mesopotamian statues I have seen in that part of the world. We realized that we didn’t know enough of the stories of Hinduism and Buddhism to fully grasp what we were looking at, just as one has to know the Christian stories to understand the art from centuries back in our musea.

We left the museum after two hours. It was enough for one museum sitting. We had a nice dim sum lunch across the street from our hotel and then took a taxi to the airport express train which took us in no time over the endless traffic jams to the airport. Vietnam, here we come!

0 Responses to “Departure day”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

May 2016
« Apr   Jun »


Blog Stats

  • 120,962 hits

Recent Comments

Natalie Gaul on A farewell to MSH
Chantelle on A farewell to MSH
Isabella Bates on A farewell to MSH
Sarah Malcolm on A farewell to MSH
Mariah Boyd-Boffa on A farewell to MSH

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 64 other followers

%d bloggers like this: