October 2017 saw the publication on Indonesian textiles, being the sixth and last volume in an attractive series. Originally it was set up as a series of ten volumes but due to politics – the museum lost its independence in 2014 and is now part of the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen in Leiden and most of its curators had to leave – resulting in dropping the volume on the material cultures from Indonesia. Although regrettable, an alternative is the catalogue Budaya Indonesia, published in 1987.
The last volume is a feast for the eye and encapsulates the history of the local textiles, the museum’s history of collecting, the various techniques applied and finally there is the textiles catalogue. By doing so the volume hints at various themes belonging to the postcolonial discourse. Ornamental textiles were no mere garment , but tokens of prestige, wealth and considerable heirlooms. On a more spiritual level they were conceived as ‘threads of time’. Recommended.