Stamford Raffles and his wayang collection

This post is about Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, his antique shadow-puppet collection and his resting place. Stamford Raffles is a well known British statesman who governs Java in the 19th century. He is known as Lieutenant Governor of Java. Raffles is also known for his rediscovery of Borobudur temple.

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles short biography by the British Museum

I can see his love of Java by looking at his fantastic collection of antique shadow puppets – currently at display at the British Museum.

Shadow Puppet exhibition at the British Museum
Shadow Puppet exhibition at the British Museum

Some of the shadow-puppet shown here are the property of the British Museum. Thus, all credits/copyrights should go to the British Museum.

Central Javanese Wayang performance
Central Javanese Wayang: Nirwatakawaca-Arjuna-Semar-Petruk
raffles wayang collection
These come from Raffles collection – which I believe have been donated to the British Museum

Shadow puppet is also called ‘wayang’ in Indonesian. And most of the wayang on display here is wayang kulit – mainly made from hide (animal skin).

A scene from the West Javanese wayang performance
A scene from the West Javanese performance
west java antique wayang
Characters on the left
central javanese wayang
Characters on the right
The Mahabharata Antique Wayang
A scene from the epic Mahabharata
bima antique wayang
Bima
Bima - also a Raffles collection
Bima – also a Raffles collection

I love all Raffles wayang collection as they are very delicate – some come with gold leaf – and they are particularly very old: from late 1700s to early 1800s.

gunungan wayang kulit
Gunungan or Kayon is my favourite
Kayon and marching army - Raffles collection
Kayon and marching army – Raffles collection
Sita and Rama antique wayang
Sita and Rama
Ravana in the epic Ramayana
Ravana in the epic Ramayana
Togog and Doyok
Togog and Doyok
Togog and Doyok - also from Raffles collection
Togog and Doyok – also from Raffles collection
Bathara Guru - a very intricate hand made wayang
Bathara Guru – a very intricate hand made wayang
bathara guru
It is too from the Raffles collection
panji wayang kulit
Panji
Naga wayang kulit
Naga
A description of naga.
A description of naga: also from Raffles collection

There are also Raffles’ gamelan on display at the British Museum:

gambang for gamelan British Museum
This one is gambang
Kendang and Khenong Raffles collection
Kendang and Khenong

Now as I have admired Raffles collection, I want to share his burial place too. Probably a little less known as to where Raffles resting place is. It is in a historic church in London, to be precised it is in Hendon.

St Mary's Church in Hendon
St Mary’s Church in Hendon
St Mary's Church in Hendon where Raffles was buried
St Mary’s Church in Hendon where Raffles was buried
Beneath this stone lie the remains of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, Lieutenant governor of Java and founder of Singapore
“Beneath this stone lie the remains of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, Lieutenant governor of Java and founder of Singapore”
Raffles burial stone is laid close to the altar.
Raffles burial stone is laid close to the altar.
A little history of Raffles grave
A little history of Raffles grave

Looking into his collection and his resting place, remains me of remarkable history of Java and a dedication from someone who has a passion to preserve Javanese heritage.

In memory of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles
In memory of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles

Maybe in the future I will be looking to read Raffles book: the History of Java, or the critical book of Raffles that my husband is reading now:

Raffles and the British invasion of Java
Raffles and the British invasion of Java

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