This publication is an invitation to get acquainted with these worlds, with the sea as a connecting element and an extraordinary collection of important works, beacons in a history worth discovering and admiring.
With more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia covers an area equal to the territory of the European Union. The Indonesian Archipelago is a place of confluences and meeting points, and has always been one of the most important hubs of world trade. Long before the container ships and oil tankers of today, Austronesian boats, Arab dhows, Chinese junks, Iberian caravels and East India Company vessels have moored here. The history of this archipelago consists of a tangle of ties and connections between worlds near and far that always have to contend with the omnipresent maritime environment. Rather, the sea is a unifying factor and the monsoon made this junction a mandatory stop for foreign traders, religious and diplomats who have left traces of their presence in the myths, monuments, art and traditions of contemporary Indonesia. These external influences were mixed layer upon layer and reinterpreted in these rich and complex societies. They created new worlds that were colored and shaped by their bond with the sea.
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