Indonesia: 500 Early Postcards


Text by Leo Haks and Steven Wachlin and Diana Darling
288 pp, 225 mm x 245 mm

ISBN: 978-981-4155-25-0
RRP USD29.90 buy from amazon

Category: Postcard Series
Theme: Indonesia
Series: Early Postcards

When Indonesia was still known as the Dutch East Indies, images on postcards were often the first views foreigners had of this fascinating land, the world's largest archipelago. The postcards in this book are divided according to seven regions: Sumatra, Java, Bali and the Lesser Sundas, southern Borneo (now Kalimantan), Celebes (Sulawesi), New Guinea (Irian Jaya) and the Moluccas, and a separate section for the capital, Batavia (Jakarta). These early postcards form a vivid visual history of Indonesia: indigenous clothes and ceremonies, kampung life, the countryside, towns, the arts and monuments. An attractive and nostalgic record, these postcards are also a useful resource for those interested in archaeology, architecture, textile design and town planning. Deltiologists (postcard collectors) will appreciate the inclusion of information such as cancellation date, publisher, series, and photographer or artist.

Born in The Netherlands, Leo Haks is well-known for his work on Asia, and especially Indonesia. He collects materials on Indonesia—such as books, prints, paintings, photographs and postcards. He has co-authored several books, such as Indonesia: Images of the Past (1987, with Paul Zach), a biography of photographer J. Demmeni, and Lexicon of Foreign Artists Who Visualized Indonesia: 1600–1950 (1995, with Guus Maris), now the standard reference book in the field. In 2002, he received the ‘Profiel Prijs’, a biannual Dutch award, for his conservation of Chinese temple embroideries in Singapore.

Steven Wachlin is a photo-historian and deltiologist. Following the completion of his studies in art history at the University of Amsterdam, he has published and co-organised exhibitions on the history of nineteenth-century commercial photography and picture postcards in the Netherlands, Indonesia, Surinam, Curaçao, South- and South-East Asia and the Middle East. He is the author of Woodbury & Page, Photographers Java (1994).

Diana Darling is an American artist and writer who has lived in Bali since 1980. She is the author of The Painted Alphabet, a novel based on a Balinese tale, and has contributed to numerous books and periodicals on Balinese and Indonesian culture. She is currently a columnist for CNET (Asia) reporting on the use of the Internet in Indonesia. She is married to A. A. Alit Ardi of Ubud.


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