Asmat art and artifacts in Dutch Museums: Inspirations for Rituals of the Dead

The art and carved objects created by the Asmat of Papua inspired my artifact mystery, Rituals of the Dead. Here are some photographs of the Missie (Mission) Museum Steyl’s Papua New Guinea collection, as well as that of the Tropenmuseum – in particular their fantastic bis poles.

Missie Museum Steyl is a fascinating museum located in Southern tip of the Netherlands. You can read more about Museum Steyl, their Asmat collection, the colonial origins of many ethnographic museums the locations described in Rituals of the Dead, or read an excerpt of my artifact mystery here.

The Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam was where I fell in love with Asmat carvings. My work as a collection assistant for an exhibition of bis poles directly inspired my novel. You can read more about the Tropenmuseum and why bis poles were desired by collectors here. The bis poles displayed in both the real exhibition and fake one described in my book, were stored in the depot of WereldMuseum in Rotterdam. You can read a short excerpt about Zelda’s first impressions of the artifacts here.


Jennifer S. Alderson

Hello! I am the author of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series, the Zelda Richardson Art Mystery series, and Adventures in Backpacking novels. I love to write and blog about travel, art, museums, expat life, and great books. Thanks for stopping by!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Pamela Allegretto

    I admire your extensive research, and I loved Rituals of the Dead. best wishes!

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