Fri, 19 Mar 1999

Antique artworks to go on the block

JAKARTA (JP): Art collector J. Roy Tobing and the Tobas Group will auction off some of his best pieces at an exhibition scheduled for March 20 through March 21 at Hilton Hotel, Central Jakarta.

Borobudur Temple, a 1967 painting by De Jong, is among the items to be auctioned. Borobudur will be offered at an opening price of Rp 350 million (about $45,000).

There is also a self-portrait by Raden Saleh, the acclaimed 19th century Indonesian artist.

Other major items to be auctioned are two doors from aristocrats' mansions adorned with Arabic calligraphy (gebyok) which Tobing said were made between the 14th century and 16th century when Islam was first propagated in Java. He refused to disclose the asking price.

Most of Tobing's collection bear Islamic symbols, such as Arabic calligraphy or depictions of palaces of Islamic kingdoms and mosques. He said he collected most of the pieces during journeys through the Middle East.

"I like collecting Islamic artworks because they are not that popular although Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim country," he said on Wednesday.

Part of the proceeds will be donated to the needy to help them weather the economic crisis, he added. (pan)