The Provenance of a Silver Vajrasattva and the Loudon Family
Using historical source material to reconstruct the origin and collecting history of a statuette of a vajrasattva owned by the Loudon family – now in the possession of the Rijksmuseum and selected to be part of the Pilot Project Provenance Research on Objects of the Colonial Era – gives us insights into the function of such objects within particular social groups such as the European colonial elite in Indonesia (to which the Loudon family belonged), the functioning of Dutch (colonial) society and the development of cultural knowledge about the colonized population. This is, however, a limited perspective. It ignores other points of view: it largely excludes the knowledge and insights of the local population, the meanings the object has had for them in the past and present, and people’s agency in these European collecting and knowledge production processes.
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