Museum Gedong Kirtya in Bali

Repository of Ancient Manuscripts in North Bali

Gedong Kirtya is a manuscript museum in Singaraja, North Bali, which houses a vast collection of thousands of old Balinese manuscripts inscribed on lontar palm leaves. These traditional books cover subjects of literature, mythology, history and religious works and are some of the oldest written literary works on the island.

The carved manuscripts record ancient knowledge and wisdom of older Balinese generations and are historical references of all Balinese daily activities, rituals and art. Singaraja proudly hosts this only lontar museum in the world. The museum was formerly referred to as the Liefrinck van der Tuuk library, named after its Dutch founders.

Read More

Lontar manuscripts at Gedong Kirtya

Lontar is the local name for the Asian Palmyra palm Borassus flabellifer that grows in dry regions. The leaves are dried and used as pages upon which letterings are carved into by the aid of a special sharp-tipped blade called a temutik.

The pages are bound by woven strands between 2 pieces of wood into what is collectively referred to as a lontar book. These ‘books’ have long been used as references among the Balinese people for knowledge and local wisdom, encompassing religion, rites of passage, and traditional shamanism or medicine.

The forms of lontar are found throughout the archipelago, from Java, Lombok to other parts of Indonesia. Most of them date back to the 13th century and were mainly written in the Kawi script in old Balinese, old Javanese and Sanskrit.

Gedong Kirtya was built in 1928 as a repository of these manuscripts with collections coming from the various islands. The volumes are kept in special wooden boxes and sorted under different categories such as Vedic renditions and mantra hymns, wariga (Balinese astronomy), itihasa (epic tales and poems), babad (Balinese genealogy) and tantri (folklore).

Some are authentic and original pieces, sourced from the royal courts throughout Bali. Others are copies and even feature prasi art as accompanying illustrations.

Good to know about Museum Gedong Kirtya

Gedong Kirtya was previously named Stichting Liefrinck-Van der Tuuk, a foundation that focused on the preservation and storage of the lontar manuscripts. It was founded following the Pertemuan Kintamani meeting held by Dutch Indies scholars together with Balinese religious figures and royalties back in 1928.

F.A. Liefrinck was an official in the Dutch administration on Bali and Lombok who had a great interest in Balinese culture and had written extensively about the islands. Dr. H.N Van der Tuuk, a Dutch historian provided the piece of land where the museum stands now.

The building also once served as the storeroom for scientific journals of research conducted on Bali and has since sourced and documented lontar collections dispersed throughout public possession to be copied and catalogued. Up until 1987, Gedong Kirtya has reproduced and listed around 4,000 manuscripts covering various topics.

You can find the museum at the Sasana Budaya complex in Singaraja, the once capital city of the Lesser Sunda Islands during the Dutch occupation. Entrance fees apply and donations for the maintenance of the library are greatly appreciated.

Museum Gedong Kirtya

  • Opening Hours: Monday–Thursday from 8am to 4pm, Friday–Sunday from 9am to 4pm
  • Location: Jalan Veteran No. 23, Singaraja, Buleleng, Bali 81118, Indonesia
  • Tel: +62 (0)362 22645
Hide Map Show Map
Rate This Place: ( votes)

Tours You May Like

Related Pages

  • Denpasar Activities

    Denpasar Activities A-Z

    Denpasar doesn’t offer many options apart from sightseeing, shopping, and eating. Still, therer are open spaces for Read More»

  • Kecak Fire Dance at Uluwatu

    Enjoy a most dramatic sunset through a Kecak show, one of Bali’s iconic performances that combines dance, drama and a Read More»

  • 10 Best Hotels in Tulamben

    Consider these 10 best hotels in Tulamben for your next island getaway or next memorable dive trip in East Bali. Read More»

  • Redz Surfboards Bali

    Bring your own surfboard design and let the guys at this board shaping factory in Canggu craft it into reality. If you Read More»

  • Bukit Pandawa Golf Club & Country Club

    Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club offers golfers in Bali a world-class, 18-hole golfing experience over the Read More»

  • 10 Best Hotels in Lovina and North Bali

    The best hotels in Lovina Beach include some of North Bali’s most prominent properties within the popular resort area, Read More»

We try to provide free information that is as up-to-date and accurate as possible. However, if you are planning to travel it's a good idea to double check specific dates and information to avoid surprises.

Hotels.com
Loading...