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Saturday April 29th 2017

Visiting Junghuhn

Journal | Tuesday, 8 March 2011 | sundanesecorner.org

Hawe Setiawan

Arti, Gilang and I at Junghuhn Park (Photograph: Teti Nurherliyati)

A couple of weeks ago my family and I went to Junghuhn Park in Lembang, north of Bandung. We were in a trip to my birthplace in Subang, some 45 kilometres from Lembang to the northern area. Since I had been collecting data on the life and works of Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn (1809-1864) for the sake of my doctoral research at ITB, we made a halt at the park for about an hour, just to take pictures of the site. I thought that anything about the great naturalist would be of significant value for my scholarly research on the visualisation of Priangan—something that Junghuhn had contributed in undertaking naturalist researches in Java, including in western part of the island, in 19th century. Some of Junghuhn’s books on natural landscape of the Island were illustrated with several fine lithographical drawings of his own. Science and art are blended in his works.

Taman Junghun ‘Junghuhn Park’, the sign of which stands at a side of the main street of Lembang, seems to be the popular name of the place. It is officially called Cagar Alam Junghuhn ‘Junghuhn Natural Park’, and a bureau under Forestry Department manages it. Today houses of Lembang residents surround the site so that it looks like a hidden legacy. As we arrived at the end of a narrow path that led to the site, a teenage girl was standing in front of its gate. My wife asked her whether she knows something about Junghuhn. The sweet smiling girl shook her head gently.

Junghuhn Park (Photograph: Hawe Setiawan)

In entering into the garden, we walked along a straight path with flowers on its sides. At the end of this narrow path, on a square ground, a monument stood of some two metres high. On its front side it was read: ‘Dr. Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn, Mansfeld/Magdeburg, 26 Oktober 1809 – Lembang, 24 April 1864’. Junghuhn was buried right under the monument. A few metres from the monument, under the shade of tall trees, there laid a ‘tomb’ of Dr. Johan Eliza de Vrij, Junghuhn’s colleague, without epitaph. (Dr. De Vrij died in Netherlands in 1889, and after being cremated in Gotha, his ash was buried in Lembang, closed to Junghuhn’s monument). Children were playing kites around it, as if they were cheering the lonely tomb. At a corner of the site, however, garbage mounted.

I took some pictures of the site. After walking around the garden we kept on our excursion to Subang.***

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