A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
On a very sunny winter day, I decided to take a break from revising. It had been a long time since I had my last me-time (read: doing the things I love). Therefore, I decided to go to a museum in Leiden as a way to relax. At first I thought of visiting Dick Bruna Huis in Utrecht, but I was not in the mood to go travel outside Leiden. When I knew that Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde still opened their temporary exhibition about Chinese Indonesians in the Netherlands, I decided to go to Volkenkunde.
For you who just got to Leiden, Volkenkunde Museum is one of the museums in Leiden. Volkenkunde is a small part of a bigger museum chain, the other two museums are Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and Afrikamuseum. In Volkenkunde Museum, you can find any kind of world culture. It is the home of thousands of art objects from Asia, Africa, even America.
When I visited the museum, they were having two temporary exhibitions: the Buddha exhibition and the Chinese Indonesian in Netherlands exhibition. Buddha exhibition was larger than Chinese Indonesian. It was a stunning exhibition, yet I was more interested in the latter one.
The story of Chinese Indonesian always fascinates me since I was in college. Maybe it is because of my heritage (I am a quarter Chinese and my grandmother still look like a Chinese woman), but the deeper I dive inside the topic, the more interesting it gets for me. For the exhibition, it displayed the Peranakan Chinese culture in Indonesia, especially the wedding ceremony and the material culture of Peranakan Chinese. In the small exhibition, you could see several household items and clothes that were formerly used in a Peranakan house until the 1920s, such as shoes, kebaya, and belts. Apart from those things, they also displayed the wedding dress of a bride and a groom in a traditional Chinese wedding, as well as other equipment being used in the wedding ceremony and a short story about how the ceremony went.
Such a perfect me-time! From this exhibition, I learn something more from a Peranakan Chinese culture. Plus, it gives me the boost to finish my thesis as soon as possible.
P.S.: The exhibition will end on May 2016.