The Insulindia collections (insular South-East Asia) serve to highlight the ethnic and cultural diversity of this region where continental South-East Asia and Oceania meet. A collection of sumptuous adornments is on exhibition, evidencing the importance attached to personal prestige, marriage exchanges, and family treasure. Form and material are linked to myth and ritual, and also reflect the innumerable trade contacts that encouraged the spread of different motifs.
A unique collection of commemorative stone sculptures produced by the Batak of Sumatra, on Nias and Sumba, proclaims the prestige enjoyed by individuals or by clans.
The ancestor cult, which features prominently in the Insulindian archipelago, finds its own form of expression in the South Molucca Islands, where altars are lavishly decorated with abstract spiral designs.
And the need for protection against evil spirits and the forgotten dead is expressed in every facet of daily life, as evidenced by a display of everyday artefacts on which are depicted strange protecting animals – aso (Borneo), singa (Sumatra), lasara (Nias) – connected with myths of the beginnings of time.