The Náprstek Museum’s Indonesian collection began to form in Vojta Náprstek’s lifetime, through random acquisitions and also from comprehensive collections donated by travellers and Vojta Náprstek's friends. Two Czech doctors were among these, František Czurda (1844–1886) and Pavel Durdík (1843–1903); in the 1870s and 1880s they worked on the islands of Celebes, Sumatra and Nias. Other items in the Indonesian collection come from Josef Kořenský, who donated a set of leather puppets used in Wayang (shadow puppet theatre) from Java. The traveller E. Stanko Vráz (1860–1932) presented the museum with a valuable collection of kris daggers. The collection of textiles was expanded by the painter Růžena Charlotta Urbanová (1888–1978), who lived in Indonesia before World War II (and during it, albeit involuntarily) and was greatly concerned with collecting textiles prior to the war. Other additions to the collection came as donations and purchases from individuals. The last large purchases took place in the 1920s. Among them was a comprehensive collection from the Dayak tribal culture of Kalimantan, purchased from the traveller and entrepreneur Miloslav Šulc (1922–?), and the collection of Bedřich Forman (1919–1985), which enriched the museum collection with textiles and arts and crafts. A significant proportion of the Indonesian collection consists of objects of everyday use and decorative art and represents the tribal culture of the Indonesian islands. Dayaks, the head-hunters of Kalimantan (Borneo), are represented by a large collection of weapons – such as a blowpipe for poison darts, swords with asymmetrical blades and war shields – and also textiles, loin cloths decorated with bead embroidery, baby slings and musical instruments. The monumental, larger-than-life sculptures of ancestors and massive hardwood bowls with relief motifs of mythical creatures are exceptional examples of their mastery. The traditional Indonesian crafts represented in the museum collection are Indonesian toreutics, metal casting and blade-smithing. Another traditional craft, textile making, was brought to perfection in Indonesia. The collection holds samples of the famous Indonesian textile techniques batik and ikat. The Indonesian collection boasts puppets from the Javanese and Balinese shadow theatre. In 1990, the Náprstek Museum was presented with the gift of a set of eighteen major instruments played in Gamelan music.
Asian Cultures Collection – Indonesia
The Náprstek Museum’s Indonesian collection began to form in Vojta Náprstek’s lifetime. The notable collectors associated with this collection are the Czech physicians František Czurda (1844–1886) and Pavel Durdík (1843–1903), who in the 1870s and 1880s worked on the islands of Celebes, Sumatra and Nias.