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Beschermbeeld uit een traditioneel familiehuis Siberut (eiland) Sakuddei

New Year’s reception

On Saturday 3 February the board of the Asian Art Society invites you to a festive New Year’s reception to kick off the start of the Society’s 100th anniversary with an interesting lecture on Indonesian art and we also have a special announcement. In 2018 we will organise special lectures, a symposium, special editions of Aziatische Kunst.



13:30-13:45     Welcome by the chairman
13:45-15:00     Lecture “Speelgoed voor de zielen. Mentawai, een onbekende kunstprovincie in Indonesië” by
Dr. Jet Bakels and Prof. Dr. Reimar Schefold
15:00-16:00     Visit the exhibition “Mentawai in Indonesië- Schatten uit het Depot”
16:00-17:00     Drinks in the Museumcafé


Museum Volkenkunde (Grote zaal)
Steenstraat 1

Members need to pay the entrance fee to the museum: the museum is accessible with a museum card or you pay the reduced entrance fee of € 6.


The rich artistic tradition of the Mentawi islands to the west of Sumatra in Indonesia has hardly been represented since recent days. In 2017 the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen acquired a collection of objects of which a part is exhibited in the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden. In this lecture, the art of the Mentawi islands will be introduced  and the prehistorical background and cultural context will be examined.


Prof. Dr. Reimar Schefold is Professor Emeritus Cultural Antropology of Indonesie of the Universiteit Leiden. His research included, amongst others, field studies of Indonesian communities in the Mentawai Islands and the people of Siberut. There he studied their religious conceptions, traditional culture, songs and headhunting.  He researched their life in the tropical forest, including their views on everything having a spirit. He is the author of numerous books, amongst others about Mentawi  “Wees goed voor je ziel; mijn jaren bij de Sakuddei” (2012) and “Toys for the Souls;  Life and Art on the Mentawai Islands” (2017).

Professor Schefold was Chairman of the Royal Netherlandish Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies.

Dr. Jet Bakels is anthropologist, exhibition maker and author of children’s books. The way groups of people express their cultural identity and their world view in tales, dances, songs, sports, arts & crafts, body culture etc. has been a central focus of her research. Of special interest are the daily interactions, institutionalized and symbolic, with animals.